All sixth and 10th grade students in Rockford Public Schools will learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) thanks to an $89,500 grant from The SwedishAmerican Foundation. Under the conditions of the grant, other middle and high school students will also have the opportunity to learn CPR basics through new health curriculum. The Rockford School Board formally accepted the grant tonight.
“The more people who are trained in CPR, the more lifesavers we have in our community,” said SwedishAmerican Emergency Management Manager Tom Pratt. “Our program will touch at least 4,000 Rockford Public Schools students, which is one more way SwedishAmerican is helping to transform Rockford and make it a healthier place to live.”
The grant will provide several learning opportunities: All sixth and 10th grade students will learn CPR. Sixth grade students will receive an introduction to CPR and automated external defibrillators (AED), while 10th graders will go through the Heartsaver CPR AED course through the American Heart Association, earning a course completion card in CPR. Also, an after-school program will be available to seventh, eighth and ninth grade students interested in learning the basics of CPR. Juniors and seniors can also take a CPR class and earn the Healthcare Provider Course card.
SwedishAmerican EMS will also provide CPR training for RPS 205 health instructors and nurses, allowing them to have the skills to train and teach the students CPR. The grant also will provide AED trainers in all of the middle and high schools, and videos, manuals and adult and infant mannequins to help teach life-saving skills.
The grant is tied to Illinois “Lauren Laman Law,” a new law named for a 17-year-old St. Charles girl who died from sudden cardiac arrest during practice at school. No one performed CPR or used an AED, and an emergency crew could not save her. This school year, the law requires CPR and AED training to be added to secondary schools curriculum. Sudden cardiac arrest affects up to 424,000 victims annually in Illinois. A victim’s likelihood of survival increases substantially when CPR is performed.
“We are extremely thankful for SwedishAmerican Health System and the SwedishAmerican Foundation allowing our students to be trained in CPR and AED,” said Tyler Fagan, dean of physical education, health, driver education and wellness at RPS 205. “The Lauren Laman law makes us realize how important CPR training is. Our students will remember this training for the rest of their lives, and they may even save a life or two.”