CPR kit will help train Fike High School students

Vester Auto donation provided equipment

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Fike High School received a lifesaving gift earlier this month thanks to the American Heart Association and the Hubert Vester Auto Group. Together, they donated a CPR in Schools Training Kit to the high school that will help train a new generation of lifesavers in the skill of hands-only CPR, officials said.

Developed by the American Heart Association, the CPR in Schools program and training kits enable students and faculty to learn the lifesaving skills of CPR in just one class period, officials said.

The kit also teaches automated external defibrillator use and choking relief. The easy-to-use kit is designed specifically for schools’ needs.

Hubert Vester knows the importance of learning a lifesaving skill.

“The youth graduating from high school are going to be required to learn CPR before graduation,” Vester said. “We felt strongly about giving them the tools to learn this important skill in case the occasion were to ever present itself. We believe in giving back to the community — and what better way than this?”

Vester said heart disease runs rampant in his family. He had two uncles and several cousins who died before age 50 due to the disease. Vester himself had stents implanted in his heart at age 50 and avoided what’s known as the “widowmaker” heart attack, he said.

“The doctor said if it had happened, I would not have survived,” he said. “So given the fact that it has taken so many of my family members away, it is dear to my ‘heart’ that we fight this disease with all we can.”

Vester said most people aren’t aware that more people die each year from heart-related issues than all cancers combined.

“That’s a staggering statistic,” he said.

CPR can double or triple one’s chance of survival if compressions are performed in the first few minutes of a cardiac emergency, officials said. Of the 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests that occur annually, 90 percent of those victims will not survive, according to the American Heart Association. Of those 90 percent, 46 percent of those victims do not receive CPR.

“We are proud to have Hubert Vester join us in our mission to ensure that families are able to spend life’s precious moments together,” said Erin Fox, American Heart Association development director. “This generous gift will help us create a whole new generation of lifesavers, equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to save lives.”

Vester and his son, Chris, along with Fox, presented the kit to Fike health sciences teachers Christina Lucas and Jessica Dumong on April 11.

For more information about the CPR in Schools program, visit www.heart.org/cprinschools or contact American Heart Association Development Director Erin Fox at erin.fox@heart.org to help fund CPR in Schools kits for additional schools.