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Central Arizona Valley
Institute of Technology

CAVIT Teachers Prepare to Certify Students in CPR

Students will receive life-saving training at the start of the 2021–2022 school year.

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All students enrolled at Central Arizona Valley Institute of Technology (CAVIT) will receive CPR certification training as part of CAVIT’s 2021-2022 curriculum. On Friday, July 9, Wash Gibbs, a Basic Life Support (CLS) instructor with the American Heart Association, Honor Health Training center, led a course certifying all CAVIT teachers as BLS instructors and preparing them to train CAVIT students in CPR.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), keeps blood pumping to the heart and brain in an emergency. When properly administered, CPR can double or triple the chances of survival after a cardiac arrest. CPR certification in schools is part of a nationwide movement to train more people in this life-saving technique. According to the American Heart Association, "Teaching CPR in the school setting is common throughout the United States, and several states have passed legislation requiring it as part of the high school curriculum.”

Several of the local Pinal County high schools, from which CAVIT students come, now have CPR certification as part of their graduation requirements. While many students may need to enroll in an additional class or pay for a certification course, CAVIT is providing this training to all their students, regardless of the program in which they are enrolled. 

Ms. Kansas Olson, CAVIT’s CTE Coordinator, will be working with the teachers to make sure all of CAVIT’s students receive their CPR certification during the school year. She says, “CPR certification is very important. They say that one out of every forty adults is CPR certified, and typically most emergencies happen at home. For all kids to have it means more people in the general population are able to respond in emergency situations.” 

Ms. Wendy Puffer, one of CAVIT’s medical assistant II teachers, participated in Friday’s training. She said, “In this day and age, I believe all students should learn a form of CPR, and I’m super excited that CAVIT is going to give our students the opportunity to learn CPR.” In addition, the American Heart Association says that certification is essential because “it provides students with the skills and confidence necessary to perform CPR, ultimately making our communities safer and empowering our youth to save lives.” 

Both Ms. Puffer and Ms. Olson pointed out that emergencies can arise at any time and in any work environment, which is why all CAVIT students will be receiving the certification, not just those enrolled in medical-based programs. Ms. Olson added that having CPR certification on their resumes will help CAVIT graduates stand out as they seek jobs in the career pathways they are following at CAVIT. 

The certification is good for two years, and CAVIT teachers were grateful for the refresher course as techniques and best practices can change from year to year. Ms. Puffer used to work in an emergency room and has had to use CPR in that setting, but she was glad to learn a new technique for performing CPR on babies using the thumbs rather than just the fingers. “Personally, I’m super excited that CAVIT gave us this opportunity because I have a new one-month-old grandbaby, and I will personally be training my son and my daughter-in-law in CPR,” Ms. Puffer said. She added, “Mr. Gibbs was an excellent trainer. He had a lot of insight and a lot of stories of real-life situations that he’s been in.” 

Teachers also learned new techniques for rescue breaths, including how to give breaths using a barrier. Mr. Gibbs was able to critique and correct methods, and he even brought along a mannequin that registered with a green light when chest compressions were being done correctly. Ms. Olson said, “The training was excellent. I think we’re ready to be able to deliver certifications to all students. That’s our goal. It’s a big endeavor, but I think after our training, we’re ready for that.”

* Learn more about CPR certification in schools from the American Heart Association.

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