Required CPR: Stupid law or helpful class?


It came as a surprise to me when I first heard it; Basic CPR or Cardiopulmonary resuscitation training course for seniors across the state of Oklahoma. I too thought that it was a stupid law; take a  mandatory course or fail your high school senior year. It was a bit excessive to me, to put such a punishment on a stupid course of CPR. Of course, now in hind sight , I see that it was a course that I’m glad to have taken part in.

I was scheduled to report at 9:00 am to our activities facilities on campus. As we all trudged along, I wondered if I was the only one thinking of how stupid it was gonna be. When I arrived, my eyes focused on the fake CPR people and babies. I dreaded the thought of having to put my mouth on one of those things. Was it sanitized? How many people mouthed it before I?  Everyone later arrived and the vulgar jokes went around and through our heads. I found out as the speaker began, that we were doing basic hand compressions and not mouth to mouth. I was of course, like everyone else, relieved.

Our speaker went over how CPR was fundamental now with a society that has an increasing heart problem. I agreed, heart attack scares have crossed my mind now and then; not of me, but loved ones. He gave us statistics of the chance someone had of living if basic hand compressions were used.  Twenty-five percent was a big number compared to a whopping less than ten percent who would survive with no compressions. He continued with basic methods to use when someone was choking. Once he finished his speech, we had to join small groups to perform these actions.

It was awkward, trying to perform the actions on a head and torso and a fake baby. We proceeded to practice hand compressions on a regular adult and child dummies.  Next we worked on an infant dummy, which required more careful actions.

Working on the infant was much more stressful.  I was concerned with being cautious, but the instructor assured us that we couldn’t hurt them anymore than whatever was already happening to them. Death or broken ribs?

We all walked away having learned something, if someone didn’t, that’s their fault.

My conclusion is that the course wasn’t stupid and had good reason behind it. I walked away having learned how to help an individual.  I hope I never have to use my newly learned skill, but it’s good to know. My advice to future seniors taking the required CPR course?  Don’t blow off a 30 minute course that could change someone’s life.