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Press Release

Students to Learn Lifesaving CPR Techniques in Contra Costa High Schools

May 5, 2010

More than 3,000 Contra Costa ninth-graders will learn cardiopulmonary resuscitation—or CPR—this month following a rise in sudden cardiac arrest among young people.

Contra Costa Health Services, in partnership with the Mt. Diablo Health Care District and the American Heart Association, will train 3,012 students in CPR at six high schools in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District during National Emergency Medical Services Week, May 16-22.

"In the past several months, we've seen a number of cardiac arrests in young people in Contra Costa. In an emergency we all need to be ready to take action, which can be anything from calling 911 to performing CPR," said Prehospital Care Coordinator Pam Dodson, with Contra Costa Health Services' Emergency Medical Services Division. "Being trained and performing CPR can be the difference between life and death."

Contra Costa Health Services is helping to facilitate the training, which will occur during regular ninth-grade physical education classes. Training will be held at College Park, Northgate, Mt. Diablo, Concord, Ygnacio Valley and Clayton Valley high schools.

As part of the CPR training, each student will receive a CPR Anytime Kit provided by the Mt. Diablo Health Care District. Grace Ellis with the Health Care District said each kit contains an inflatable mannequin, a training DVD and information pamphlets.

"The idea is students will take the kit home, gather the family around the TV and everyone will learn how to perform CPR," Ellis said. "If you multiply that out, there will be a strong network of people in Contra Costa able to perform CPR and there'll be a much better outcome when emergency personnel arrive."

In addition to CPR training, students will learn how to operate automated external defibrillators (AED), devices that detect and treat irregular heart rhythms. As part of a Contra Costa Health Services campaign earlier this year, American Medical Response placed 17 AEDs throughout the Mt. Diablo Unified School District.

"People can survive sudden cardiac arrest if we equip our communities with the right skills and knowledge," Dodson said. "The tools are available and now these students will know how to use them for the rest of their lives."

To find out more about more about Emergency Medical Services in Contra Costa or to find a CPR class, visit

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Press Contact
  • Pam Dodson
  • 925-313-9547