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Training a new generation of lifesavers

Junior high students get intense CPR course from city's police and firefighters


by: VERN UYETAKE - LOJHS student Chris Todd practices CPR under the expert gaze of David Smith, deputy fire marshal for Lake Oswego.Bob Stewert did not say a word when he stood before Jennifer Stafford’s Healthy Hearts Class, a program from Meridian Park Medical Center, at Lake Oswego Junior High School recently. He didn’t have to.

Stewert was already the perfect example of what the class was all about, teaching CPR to students so they can be part of the next generation of lifesavers.

It was a lighthearted occasion. It was crazy hat day at LOJHS, Stafford got off many witty remarks and such A List personalities as Lake Oswego Fire Chief Ed Wilson were crawling around on all fours as they instructed kids on how to perform CPR on a dummy.

Yet it was also deadly serious, because it was all about saving lives.

“When they survive that is the best feeling in the world,” Steve DeHart, EMS coordinator for the Lake Oswego Fire Department, told the students. “What you learn here might save a life.”

Because of vast advances in training and equipment, Lake Oswego’s police and fire departments have compiled one of the best records in the nation in saving the lives of people stricken with a heart attack. That save rate of 28 percent ranked sixth in the United States for 2013.

But “the wonderful guys in blue,” as Stafford called them, emphasized that CPR training for as many people as possible — even junior high school students — was needed to reduce the still-high number of 72 percent of heart attack victims in Lake Oswego who do not make it. by: VERN UYETAKE - Lake Oswego Fire Department Chief Ed Wilson demonstrates the proper method of CPR to Melina Adrangi at Lake Oswego Junior High School. Wilson's goal is to have every student in Lake Oswego gain at least some knowledge of CPR.

Like Bob Stewert, for instance. By profession he is a cat rescuer, lean and keen with nerves of steel and endless patience, able to climb tall trees without a single tremor. If you could choose the most unlikely potential victim of a heart attack, it might be Stewert.

But he suffered one two years ago. He passed out stone-cold in his bathroom and turned completely blue. Actually, he was dead. His partner, Karen Yee, didn’t know how to do CPR. But she has a good head on her shoulders, and she listened carefully to 911 dispatch operator Molly Powers’ instructions over the phone.

Yee also gave Stewert encouragement, screaming in his face: “You are not going to die!”

He didn’t. A Lake Oswego police officer and firefighter soon arrived at the same time and took over the resuscitation job. Today, Stewert is again saving cats.

Learning how to save lives can be fun. Stafford spread out 10 dummies on the floor, with an instructor and three or four students around each one. The students learned the proper technique for pressing a chest and also the proper rhythm of 100 beats per minute. It so happens that the disco classic “Stayin’ Alive” has the perfect beat for CPR work, and LOPD Officer Jeff Oliver swayed to the music while teaching the students.

Stafford passed out quips, corrections and compliments and even a fake plastic Slinky to one apt student. The kids had their own running commentary, such as “you’re doing it too slow” or “he’s already dead.”

From this fun class emerged an important skill.

“CPR can double or triple a person’s chance of survival,” Stafford said.

“When I arrive and I see CPR being done, I know there’s a much better chance to save the person’s life,” DeHart said.

Wilson said, “Our goal is for every child to be exposed to hands-only CPR.”

Cliff Newell can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and 503-636-1281, ext. 105.




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