Washougal students learn life-saving skills

Teens earn CPR, first aid certification

Washougal High students Lexi Sneer (left) and Ellie Watts (right) learn CPR skills during a recent CPR and first aid certification course.

Michelle Kruse of Emergency Response Consultants (left) teaches Washougal High student Josh Veselka life-saving skills during a recent CPR and first aid certification course.

Washougal High School health students were recently trained in skills to help save lives.

Thanks to House Bill 1556, Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and AED (Automated External Defibrillator) instruction is already a statewide graduation requirement, which is typically taught in high school health classes. These Washougal students decided to take their knowledge one step further and pursue their CPR and First Aid certification. Local businesses donated to the efforts and covered the students’ testing fees.

“We surveyed students to find out how many wanted to earn their certification, and more than half were interested,” said Margaret Rice, Washougal School District’s director of career and technical education. “Our hope is that this certification will help students when looking for jobs. It’s something many employers look for and these are important skills to have, not to mention a nice addition to their resume. We are thrilled to assist students in learning these skills and earning this credential.”

Dale King, outreach director at Columbia Ridge Senior Living, helped spearhead the effort to pay for the certifications. Columbia Ridge, as well as Paul Godin from Farmers Insurance, helped cover the students’ costs.

“Being a senior living community means we are interested in all parts of our community,” King said. “Many of our residents have grandchildren in our schools, and they know they are the future of Washougal, and they love to contribute to them when they can.”

“I believe everyone should learn CPR,” said Michelle Kruse of Emergency Response Consultants. “Kids are fabulous at learning these skills because, in an emergency, they are quick to act and help any way they can. Through their eyes, they want to make the person better and help save a life — they don’t think about anything else. They learn the skills and put them into action.”

According to Kruse, students are taking the training seriously.

“Life or death is a serious situation,” she said. “I express the seriousness of CPR, using an AED and first aid in all my classes. My passion rubs off on them, which makes CPR training fun, serious and memorable all at the same time.”

Kruse hopes students leave this training with confidence to help in an emergency, do the best they can and remember to make sure the scene is safe.

“I want them to put on their superhero cape and be a superhero,” she said. “The confidence they gain from this training will help them to act quickly and appropriately in an emergency.”

Students who went through the training sessions said they felt better prepared to jump in if the need arises.

“I feel more comfortable around different emergency situations because of my training,” WHS ninth-grader Ellie Watts said. “I believe having the skills and certification listed on my resume will help me when I apply for my first job.”

Information provided by Rene Carroll, for the Washougal School District.