Plum school district offers CPR training ahead of new school year

| Wednesday, July 31, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Plum School District's staff members prepare for the new school year weeks before students arrive for classes.

This summer's preparation will include a day of CPR training for Plum's teachers, aides and other professional staff.

Plum Emergency Medical Service personnel are set to provide training and recertification to about 300 employees, according to Plum EMS director Tom Izydore.

Superintendent Timothy Glasspool said the training that will be provided during the in-service programs on Aug. 21 and 22 is mandatory.

The first day of classes for Plum students is Aug. 26.

“Quick administration (of CPR) gives patients a better chance of survival,” Izydore said.

Each year about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

Effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim's chance of survival, according to the American Heart Association. The association has been recommending hands-only CPR for adults since 2008.

Hands-only CPR has three easy steps: call 911; push hard and fast in the center of the chest; and use an automated external defibrillator, or AED, if available.

Izydore said district officials inquired about the training.

“We laid out a plan of what they were looking for and what we could supply,” Moran said. “It is a cooperative venture.”

Izydore said 15 EMS employees will set up four stations at Plum High School and provide four to six hours of training made up of both lecture material and practical application of CPR. He said those trained in CPR need to be recertified every two years.

Izydore said district employees will learn not only the correct way to perform CPR but also when to administer it.

“You have to do it right to be effective,” Izydore said. “And you have to learn when to use it.”

“Even if you're not doing great CPR, it is better than standing around watching someone (in distress),” said EMS deputy director Bob Moran.

Other school districts provide CPR training for staff members.

The Gateway School District in Monroeville trains some employees in CPR and in the use of AEDs, said district spokeswoman Cara Zanella.

Glasspool said the cost of the training is expected to be minimal.

Plum School Board member Kevin Dowdell said he thinks the CPR training for staff is valuable particularly with medical situations some students and employees could experience at school.

“A lot of students and adults have asthma and other conditions,” Dowdell said. “Everyone should be certified (in CPR).”

“I'm glad we are taking a proactive step,” board member Joe Tommarello said.

Karen Zapf is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400 ext. 8753 or

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