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More than 75 junior lifeguards receive CPR training

Posted: July 9, 2013 1:23 p.m.
Updated: July 9, 2013 1:23 p.m.

Jessica Arnone, 12, watches a demonstration as she practices chest compressions in a junior lifeguard class at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center on Tuesday. Signal photo by Jonathan Pobre

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Local kids wanting to be lifeguards learned how to save a life Tuesday as they practiced cardiopulmonary resuscitation techniques on inflatable head-and-torso dummies.

More than 75 Santa Clarita junior lifeguards met at the Santa Clarita Aquatic Center for a lesson on what to do when they come across an unconscious person.

They were led to a pool-side classroom and handed boxes containing the partial dummies that served as their CPR test subjects.

The trainees were taught how to be prepared and respond to emergencies in and around the water through “hands-on” demonstrations and interactive water activities.

But before they started pushing on the dummies’ chests, city of Santa Clarita Recreation Supervisor Lance O’Keefe showed them the video testimonial of a teenage “hands-only” graduate who stepped up in an emergency as adults looked on without acting.

The video seemed to inspire several of the young lifeguard trainees.

“I learned you have to step up if you see someone needs help and they’re just laying on the street,” said Christopher Tanaka, 9.

Requiring kids to take charge is one of the key steps in delivering CPR effectively.

“A big key thing is that you’re going to be scared to act,” Fire Department Capt. Mickey Schaffer of Fire Station 104 told them.

“You have got to get over that,” he said.

After an hour of pushing down on their test dummies while barking the command “You, call 9-1-1 and come back here,” the junior lifeguards appeared empowered.

“I learned what I must do to save a life,” said Breeana San Lucas, 11.

Junior lifeguards, who can be hired by the city of Santa Clarita as lifeguards once they’re 16, receive a hands-only CPR certificate at the end of the course. Mouth-to-mouth breathing is not part of the training.

They were told to take their CPR kits, including test dummies, home to teach their parents CPR.

“Anytime you’re around water, you want to make sure as many people know CPR as possible,” O’Keefe said.
Last year, more than 100 Santa Clarita junior lifeguards were trained at the “hands-only” CPR program.
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