“We’re usually doing a lot more activities or doing health, but today we got a curveball, and we had to do CPR which was fun today,” said Max Duke, a seventh grader.
Duke said the training worked to give him a better sense of what to do in the case of an emergency.
The idea for the training sessions started with Principal Lisa Melchione. She’d been pushing for it for years after a former student faced a situation where they had to wait for first responders after calling 911, not knowing exactly what to do.
“At first I was like if I’d ever have to do CPR, I’d be like ‘oh my gosh what would I do? I don’t know what I’d be able to do,’ but now that the firefighters came over and helped us out, I feel like I’d be a lot more confident than I was before not knowing,” Duke said.
Students learned how to help someone who is choking, how to do proper chest compressions and how to find and use a defibrillator.
Duke is part of the first half of Socastee Middle School students who received the training in one period of gym class. The other half will be trained next semester.
After securing the right funding, the training became a reality. The school bought 10 dummies for about $2,500 and partnered with the Myrtle Beach Fire Department.
Melchione said she was pleased to see students take the training seriously and engage with interest to ask questions of the first responders.
“Oh they love it,” Melchione said. “They love the fact that they get to try it. It’s harder than they think, but they really are excited that they have the opportunity to be exposed to it.” Captain Jonathan Evans with the Myrtle Beach Fire Department said the department takes advantage of opportunities like this one.
“Any time we can come out here and give them a better education of how to do these things and how to use these things and what it’s for, it’s awesome,” Evans said. Melchione said the trainings benefit the entire community but also give students peace of mind while in class.
“In the case of an emergency, I know I can protect our children, but now they can also protect each other,” Melchione said. “If it ever happens in the school, all the kids will know how to do it or how to react to it,” Duke agreed.
Socastee Middle School is the only Horry County Schools middle school with this training in place. District students also receive this type of training at the high school level.