Metro first responders teaching CPR at high schools, part of Missouri education requirement

GRANDVIEW, Mo. -- There's power in a pulse.

Missouri high school students are required to take CPR training courses, thanks to a state mandate that took effect in 2017. It's an important topic for educators in the Kansas City metro.

High school students seem to pay extra attention in class when they realize lives are on the line.

At Grandview High School, first responders from the Grandview Fire Department are giving three daily lessons in CPR to the school's health classes. Kevin Brim, and a team of paramedics, are teaching teenagers to do chest compressions and emergency methods of clearing airways, essentially keeping at-risk people alive until paramedics can arrive.

"Shake and shout, and call 911," Brim said, instructing a class on Monday morning.

It's not just an elective, either. This is the second year since leaders in Missouri education made it a requirement for all high school grads to undergo training for hand-in-hand cardiopulmonary resuscitation, as designed by the American Red Cross.

"You're most likely to do this on someone you know, which is your friends and family. That's who you spend the most amount of time with. They can certainly picture that, that this is their grandparent or their friend," Brim said Monday.

Getting the message from instructors who use CPR often, like Brim and his fellow first responders, makes this training something students appreciate.

"It's really important in life. You know never know what might happen. We could be learning about reading and history, but this is real life. We're not going to learn some of the stuff we learn in school in real life," said Anthony Cooper, a Grandview High junior.

In the past, Grandview Fire Department employees taught CPR classes at the middle school level only. However, since 2017, Brim estimates he's been part of nearly 100 classes at Grandview High, and that's not including other CPR course he's conducted.

"Somebody you know could be in danger. If you don't know what to do, you can't help them and it could cost some time, and they could lose their life," said Sarah Bensahri, a sophomore.

Brim estimates he's given CPR to hundreds of high schoolers in the past two years. Brim added he's pleased with the way Missouri educators embrace the need to teach students these skills.

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