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Why High School CPR Training Matters

Mackenzie Thompson

by Mackenzie, Life Saver, NHCPS

Co-authored by Karl Disque, D.O. RPH

posted on Sep 30, 2023 at 4:07 am

CPR training or cardiopulmonary resuscitation is a lifesaving skill that everyone should learn, and high school students are no exception. Teaching CPR to high school students goes beyond just preparing them for emergencies. It equips them with valuable life skills that can have a lasting impact.

The incidence of sudden cardiac arrest among teenagers and young adults is a pressing concern in our contemporary society. Statistics reveal that SCA claims the lives of approximately one in every 50,000 young athletes each year, and the underlying causes of SCA are constantly evolving. Unfortunately, fewer than 10 percent of adolescents who experience SCA manage to survive. In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of high scool CPR training for students, shedding light on why this skill is crucial for their personal development and community well-being.

Saving Lives and Building Leaders within the School Community

High school students lead busy lives, with numerous responsibilities and a high degree of socialization. They may have household chores, childcare duties, and they spend countless hours with family and friends. The strong social bonds within this age group make them particularly likely to encounter someone experiencing cardiac arrest or respiratory distress, whether it’s a loved one, a friend, or even a stranger.

High School CPR Training

Having the skills to respond in such critical situations not only has the potential to save lives but also provides an extraordinary sense of fulfillment. It’s about more than just fulfilling a duty; it’s a demonstration of compassion, a willingness to take a stand for others, and a lifelong commitment to remember lifesaving skills. High school students could find themselves in a situation where they save a life at a restaurant or simply by being at the right place at the right time.

This, perhaps, is the most remarkable benefit of undergoing CPR training during high school. It cultivates leadership qualities and connects students with the broader human experience, reinforcing their sense of responsibility and compassion. By empowering high school students to be potential lifesavers, CPR training not only enhances their personal growth but also strengthens the bonds that tie communities together.

Early Intervention for Emergencies and Disaster Preparedness

Completing a CPR class offers more than just readiness for cardiac emergencies. It equips high school students with valuable skills for responding to various types of crises, including the threat of natural disasters. In recent years, the frequency and severity of natural disasters have seen a dramatic upsurge, making preparedness more critical than ever.

Consider the example of hurricane Idalia that hit in Summer 2023, a storm that caused significant damage across parts of the southeastern United States. It brought extensive flooding as it passed through and damaged power lines, leaving thousands without electricity, also high-water rescues and tragic losses of life. In such water-related emergencies, the initial response involves assessing consciousness, checking vital signs like respiration, and searching for a pulse. When someone is found without signs of breathing or a pulse, CPR becomes the crucial intervention.

However, CPR training’s relevance extends well beyond water-related incidents. Emergency situations can emerge from various scenarios, including car accidents, wildfires, or the ever-present threat of a terror attack. Being prepared to save lives is a fundamental aspect of effective disaster readiness. While knowing how to evacuate, assembling a First Aid kit, and developing an emergency plan are essential components of disaster preparedness, understanding how to resuscitate someone whose heart has stopped or who has ceased to breathe is equally vital for survival.

In a world where the occurrence of natural disasters seems to be on the rise, completing a CPR course can mean the difference between triumphing over adversity and having lives tragically cut short. CPR certification empowers high school students not only to respond to cardiac emergencies but also to be resilient and capable in the face of various disasters and life-threatening situations.

CPR Training for Teamwork, Leadership, and Lifelong Preparedness

High school CPR training often involves practicing in pairs or groups, fostering teamwork and leadership skills among students. This collaborative approach helps them learn to coordinate their efforts seamlessly in high-pressure situations, a crucial aspect in responding effectively during emergencies.

Furthermore, the skills acquired from completing a life-saving course in high school carry over into college settings, where the risk factors for sudden cardiac arrest may shift. While the risk of SCA due to congenital disabilities tends to decrease as students approach college graduation, the risk of coronary artery disease begins to rise. Unfortunately, college life can introduce added stress, unhealthy diets, lack of exercise, and extreme physical and mental strain due to coursework, all of which contribute to an increased risk of cardiac arrest.

In this transitional phase, the ability to respond swiftly and appropriately is paramount, potentially determining survival outcomes. Time lost during a cardiac arrest is equivalent to decreased survival chances. Hence, individuals equipped with the skills and training to respond can significantly enhance the likelihood of survival for those in need. Not only does CPR education enhance immediate survival chances, but it also instills valuable qualities of leadership, teamwork, and preparedness that remain with students throughout their academic and professional journeys.

Enhancing Critical Thinking and Awareness of Underlying Risks

CPR, a crucial life-saving skill, demands quick thinking and effective problem-solving. Through high school CPR training, students develop essential critical thinking skills, enabling them to swiftly assess situations and make well-informed decisions during emergencies.

Understanding the prevalence of congenital heart problems sheds light on the higher risk of sudden cardiac arrest among today’s youth. Over 85 percent of deaths among individuals under the age of 25 within high school populations are attributed to congenital cardiac pathology. It’s worth noting that the risk of mortality from SCA increases as individuals age beyond 25, primarily due to acquired coronary artery disease.

Risk factors for coronary artery disease are more prevalent among those with a predisposition to cardiac health problems, emphasizing the importance of early screenings for congenital disabilities. These screenings not only build awareness regarding the future risk of coronary artery disease but also identify cases where SCA may occur among high school and college students. Combining CPR training with an understanding of underlying cardiac risks equips students with the ability to critically evaluate emergencies and act decisively, potentially saving lives in the face of sudden cardiac events.

Fostering Responsibility and Personal Safety

Learning CPR in high school instills a profound sense of responsibility towards the community in students. They come to realize that they possess the knowledge and skills to assist those in need, which fosters a strong sense of duty towards their fellow citizens. Completing a CPR course during high school not only benefits the participants themselves but also extends to positively impacting everyone they may encounter.

High school is a challenging and transformative period in a young person’s life, and no one should face an increased risk of mortality due to a lack of essential education such as CPR training. These life-saving skills learned in high school carry over into various aspects of one’s life, including careers, recreational activities, and personal endeavors, providing lifelong preparedness to handle emergencies.

It is essential for more schools to consider implementing CPR program requirements, as the skills obtained through such courses are invaluable in providing care to those in distress. Encouraging the youth to enroll in life-saving skills courses raises awareness about sudden cardiac arrest, a vital step in reducing participation in risky behaviors among adolescents and college students.

The prevalence of risky activities among today’s youth makes it imperative for instructors to educate students about associated risks and advocate for responsible behavior. Depending on the institution and program, this education may include reviewing signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning and emphasizing the significance of seeking professional medical help when such symptoms manifest. This integrated approach ensures that high school students not only learn life-saving skills but also embrace a culture of responsibility and safety, contributing to a healthier and more informed community.

CPR Certification: A Gateway to Career Advancement

CPR certification not only equips high school students with life-saving skills but also opens doors to a myriad of career opportunities in healthcare, public safety, or education. The acquisition of CPR skills provides students with a valuable credential that can significantly enhance their college applications and job prospects.

Even in states where CPR classes are not mandated for high school and college students, additional benefits may still be reaped. Some schools recognize the value of CPR training and may count it towards graduation credits or elective requirements. In cases where work-school programs are in place, students may be required to obtain CPR certification for certain job positions, considering the course’s efficient completion time compared to traditional high school classwork.

Educational institutions may implement comprehensive programs combining multiple life-saving courses into one, optimizing students’ time and skills. For instance, students may learn CPR, the use of automated external defibrillators (AEDs), techniques to protect against blood-borne pathogens, and essential First Aid procedures, among other critical skills. These combined programs offer a plethora of opportunities to enrich students’ knowledge and capabilities.

Online CPR Training

In the evolving landscape of employment, a growing number of companies recognize the vital role of CPR certification, particularly in roles that involve direct care of others or responsibility for health and safety. As awareness of the risk of mortality following cardiac arrest grows, many employers view CPR certification as a prerequisite for employment. In certain professions, such as healthcare and daycare centers, possessing a valid CPR certification is mandatory, reinforcing the importance of being equipped with life-saving skills in various career paths. High school students who embrace CPR certification not only position themselves for academic and career success but also contribute to a safer and more prepared society.

Life-Saving Skills Beyond the Classroom

One of the most significant benefits of high school CPR training for students is the gift of a lifelong skill. This skill isn’t confined to the school years. It becomes an enduring asset carried into adulthood. Armed with the knowledge and ability to perform CPR, individuals are perpetually prepared to step in and make a difference when confronted with life-threatening situations.

The nature of sudden cardiac arrest can deceive high school and college students into a false sense of security. While it often occurs during high-intensity exercise, it can strike at any moment, in any location. CPR skills gained in a life-saving course are versatile, applicable in various environments, and may prove invaluable in places frequently visited by high school students, such as restaurants, classrooms, school facilities, and recreational centers, where emergencies can unfold.

Surprisingly, even seemingly mundane locations like shopping centers can witness an increased prevalence of SCA occurrences among this age group. Statistics shows, shopping malls rank third in the United States for the frequency of cardiac arrest incidents. Therefore, the life a student saves may not necessarily be a classmate – it could be a total stranger or a family member of a friend. By carrying the lifelong skill of CPR, high school students become ready and capable of making a significant impact on the well-being of their surroundings, no matter where or when an emergency arises.

Empowering Future Generations for Lifelong Impact

CPR training for high school students extends beyond the acquisition of a critical skill; it fosters a culture of responsibility, empowerment, and preparedness. The benefits we’ve explored throughout this article underscore the paramount importance of incorporating CPR education into high school curricula. This integration ensures that the next generation isn’t just academically prepared but also equipped with the knowledge and ability to save lives when it matters most.

Completing a CPR training course in high school delivers significant advantages not only to participants but also to everyone they encounter. These courses provide life-long skills that seamlessly transition into various life scenarios. It’s time for more schools to consider implementing CPR program requirements, recognizing the immense value they bring to students and society.

For those ready to learn the skills necessary to provide care to those in distress, enrolling in a life-saving skills course is a pivotal step. Increasing awareness of sudden cardiac arrest among today’s youth is equally vital. It’s an endeavor that anyone can partake in, including high school students or those simply spending time with their friends.

Has your school taken the initiative to introduce free or mandated CPR courses? Share your thoughts in the comments section below and this article on social media now to contribute to the collective effort of raising awareness about SCA in high school and college students. Remember, anyone, regardless of age, can become a life-saver, and together, we can empower future generations to make a profound and lasting impact on the world.

About Mackenzie

Mackenzie is a seasoned life saver and a multifaceted professional in the medical field. With an impressive 8-year track record in medical education, Mackenzie boasts a comprehensive set of certifications, including ACLS, PALS, BLS, and CPR, which reflect her unwavering commitment and expertise. Her significant contributions to teaching and the development of medical content underscore her profound knowledge and dedication to advancing healthcare.

Beyond her medical prowess, Mackenzie seamlessly integrates her passion for education with her proficiency in media and marketing. Her academic journey at Indiana University culminated in a degree in Media and Marketing, further solidifying her expertise in these domains.

In addition to her impressive professional achievements, Mackenzie possesses a refined taste for global exploration, photography, design aesthetics, sartorial elegance, and the culinary arts, with a particular affinity for Chinese cuisine. Currently based in the vibrant city of Manhattan, she continues to be a driving force in the medical community. She is an invaluable asset to, where she champions excellence and innovation with unwavering dedication.

Contact Mackenzie at [email protected]


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