The Huron High School freshman began vigorous chest compressions and then exhaled a deep breath, waiting for a fellow classmate to fetch an AED from a nearby locker room.
Luckily for the pair, the situation was only a CPR demonstration on a mannequin, and no one’s health was at risk.
But if faced with a real emergency, Grendow said she feels prepared to take action and possibly save a life.
“It didn’t seem too difficult to figure out today,” she said. “I’m sure in the real situation, it would be very nervewracking, but I think I could do it.”
All Huron High School students taking health classes — typically freshmen — are biannually trained and certified in CPR, the Heimlich maneuver and AED usage. This semester’s courses occurred every day this week during health class.
Huron Schools nurse Janis Wallace has coordinated the training each semester for more than a decade.
Marisa Munafo, a nurse and education specialist from Firelands Regional Medical Center, teaches each year free of charge.
The Huron Fire Department purchases the certification cards for each student, which are $2 apiece. A grant from Wightman Wieber Foundation funded mannequin purchases for the school.
“The key is awareness,” Munafo said. “We believe education is power, and we want people to be proactive, not reactive. You never know when you’re going to need these skills.”
On Monday, students practiced CPR on both baby and adult mannequins, and also learned how to open and operate an AED. Every Huron Schools building is equipped with two of the devices, which deliver an electric shock to a person to reestablish the heart’s rhythm.
“I’ve always wanted to become CPR certified, so I’d know what to do in case of an emergency,” sophomore James Dixon said. “I didn’t expect to get to use the AED too. I’m glad, because now I know how I can help save a life.”