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Billings students help cardiac survival rates go up by learning CPR early on

Posted at 5:00 PM, Feb 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-17 14:50:06-04

BILLINGS- Montana’s youth could be your first line of defense in a cardiac event.

February is heart month, and those at the Billings Clinic are using the opportunity to teach high school students the importance of life-saving skills.

“We are teaching CPR in the schools,” said Sandy Pearson, who teaches and instructs the class.

Tuesday at around the middle of the day, dozens of high school students converged into the large gym at Billings Senior High School.

Stationed with members of Billings Clinic medical staff, the students were given valuable life-saving instructions for performing CPR.

Gayla Neese, a registered nurse for Billings Clinic, was among the leaders guiding the students.

“There you go, now you got it,” she said. “Thirty compressions, go ahead and turn your hands straight across, there you go, good.”

Pearson said teaching CPR at an early age gives the entire community an advantage.

New research suggests early CPR education in high school may lead to higher bystander CPR and cardiac arrest survival rates.

“Which means they step up and take ownership of it,” said Pearson. “That’s what we want because the more people we can get to start the better survival rates.”

Billings Clinic has been helping high school students get CPR training for more than two decades.

“My goal is when I teach a class that when they leave, if I would drop over, they could save my life or at least give it a good shot and that’s really important,” said Pearson.

It’s a class that Pearson said will end up benefiting the entire community.

After the class is over, students can be card-carrying CPR certified for just $15 after a quick test.