Student volunteers learn CPR skills at Dorn VA

Students were taught CPR on an adult-size bust model, then on a child-size model. Chris Timmers photos.

Wil Solis, the Voluntary Service Specialist at the VA, introduced 31 of his summer student volunteers to a life-saving skill Monday morning.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a combination of techniques designed to pump the heart to get blood circulating, and deliver oxygen to the brain until treatment can stimulate the heart to start working again. The principal instructor for the session was Ralph Praylow, a registered nurse and retired Army Sergeant Major. Praylow is the current coordinator at the training center for Providence Health & American Heart.

When asked why it’s important to teach teens CPR, Praylow responded quickly. “Simple,” he said. “Kids are frequently the first responders when there is a cardio incident in the home. They need to know these life-saving steps and can’t hesitate. The first four minutes of a cardiac arrest are critical.”

The students practiced on both adult and child mock-up torsos. They were taught not just how to get an arrested heart beating again, but what to say to bystanders who have witnessed a heart attack. According to instruction, students were taught to say, “You! Call 911 and have them bring an AED (automated external defibrillator)!”

Praylow stressed the importance of the training not just for the purpose of saving lives, but also to meet educational requirements.  In 2017, the state legislature made it mandatory for students to successfully complete CPR training in order to graduate from high school. Training can be secured from a variety of places at various costs. However, the Dorn VA student volunteers completed Monday’s course at no cost to them.

Categories: Columbia, Education, Military, Richland County