CPR Saturday for Teens teaches necessities of saving lives

The more than 200 teens who participated in CPR Saturday for Teens were all there for one reason: To learn how to save a life.

From Suquamish to Port Orchard, teens from across the county participated in the free event Saturday at Kitsap Mall. Sponsored by the American Red Cross, those who successfully completed the course walked away with CPR certification cards good for one year. With five sessions throughout the day, Jackie Fojtik, youth services coordinator for the American Red Cross West Sound Service Center, noticed right away the enthusiasm the teens had for learning life saving techniques. It was evident right from the start, she said, with the first batch of participants at 9 a.m.

“They came in at 9 a.m., they were really excited to be here and really into the class,” she said. “They paid attention and gave 100 percent effort. They passed with flying colors.”

For each class, training began with a 45-minute video lesson on CPR. After watching the video, teens learned the recovery position and what to do if someone is consciously choking. They were then given the opportunity to practice on mannequins what they learned from the video. More than 50 CPR certified volunteers were on-hand to guide the participants, including Crystal Hoobs, a staff member with the American Red Cross of King and Kitsap counties.

“Some of them are really impressing me today,” said Hoobs, who came over from Seattle. “Some adults I’ve taught haven’t picked up as much as some of these kids. A lot picked it up from the video, they pick it up really fast. These are smart kids.”

Teens practiced step-by-step rescue breathing, CPR techniques and what to do in the event of unconscious choking. They also were versed in the proper way to take off medical gloves.

After the skills lesson it was on to the written exam which required a score of at least 80 percent to pass.

(CPR training) should be a part of what kids learn and something adults continue to use,” Hoobs said. “You never know when you’re going to have to use these skills.”

Cathie Erickson, 14, a student at Central Kitsap Junior High School attended Saturday’s training to learn the skills she may need to use in the event of an emergency while babysitting.

“(The training) covers a lot of topics, you have a wide range of information,” Erickson said.

Andrea Skipper, 15, of Suquamish and 12-year-old Katie Button of Poulsbo signed up together. For them, not only was babysitting the reason for taking the training, but it’s also something they can put on their future job resumés.

“Being able to save someone if something bad happens is the best part,” Skipper said. “It also helps you get a job.”

Volunteer James Caldwell, the command drug and alcohol program adviser on the USS John C. Stennis, oversaw the training area as part of his college internship.

“It’s a positive thing for youth, to get them more familiar with life saving procedures,” he said.

Watching the participants interact with the American Red Cross volunteers, he noticed how receptive the teens were.

“They were very interested and paid attention

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