Wakefield Memorial High School juniors Makayla Scharaffa and Matt Murdocca hope they will never have to use CPR in a real-life situation, but thanks to the training they received on March 14, they both feel confident that they would know what to do in an emergency. Makayla and Matt were part of a group of Wakefield High juniors who received cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training as part of a community outreach program at Hallmark Health.

The program, funded by the annual Stride for Healthy Communities fundraising walk, has trained 900-1200 high school students each of the past seven years. Each student is given a Family & Friends CPR Anytime training kit, developed by the American Heart Association. The kit includes an inflatable learning “Manikin”, bilingual instructional DVDs, reminder cards, and full instructions. Hallmark Health athletic trainers, nurses and paramedics from Cataldo Ambulance Service provide hands-on instruction for all of the juniors.

According to Danielle Patturelli, RN, clinical outreach and education coordinator for cardiac and endovascular services at Hallmark Health, there has been a drop-off in the number of people learning CPR. “The program was put together to reach out to young people, get them engaged, and boost the number of trained individuals in our community. We are currently working with the high schools in Malden, Medford, Melrose and Wakefield, who have incorporated this training into their health and physical education curriculum.”

The training doesn’t end at the end of each session, however. Each student is then asked to take their kit home and use it to train other people. Makayla will be training her younger sister who is in middle school, while Matt is prepared to train his older sister. Both feel confident that they would be able to initiate CPR in an emergency.

“We trained 216 students this year,” said Paul Uva, wellness instructor at Wakefield Memorial High School. “It has been a great four-year working relationship between Wakefield Memorial High School and Hallmark Health. The students come away with a greater knowledge of what to do and how to do perform CPR during a crisis situation.”

Patturelli says that these training sessions are giving the teens the skills to jump in to help in the event of an emergency and adds that when CPR is administered outside of the hospital, it increases the chance of survival for the patient by three times.

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