Clemson Partners for CPR in Schools Program

The American Heart Association announced today that Clemson University is the first university in the state of South Carolina to provide CPR in Schools training. The program launched its first student group training in January and plans to expand to trainees from a variety of groups. Each CPR in Schools kit includes 10 manikins, an AED trainer device, instructional DVDs and other accessories.

“Once people start not only talking about hands-only CPR, but learning how to do it, we are going to see big changes in survival rates,” said Kelly Wilkins, executive director of the AHA in the Upstate.

Data shows that over 350,000 people suffer out-of-hospital cardiac events every year, with only a 10-percent survival rate. Having a bystander administer CPR can double or triple the survival rate.

“We are very proud to partner with the American Heart Association on this wonderful program,” said Vice President for Student Affairs Almeda Jacks. “Our hope is to equip as many of our students as we can with the knowledge they need to assist others in the event of an emergency. This is thanks in large part to the generous contributions of Andrew and Julie Smart.”

Julie Smart is a researcher and instructor within Clemson’s College of Education. She and her husband, Andrew — a member of IPTAY’s Board of Directors — donated the funds necessary to purchase the training kits provided to Clemson students. Smart became involved with the program after sharing a personal experience with AHA’s director of development, Mary Ellen Prophitt.

“I was a professor for five years at Presbyterian College prior to my time at Clemson,” she said. “One of my students died at a party because of a heart attack. The other students who were around him didn’t know how to administer CPR.”

“We hope to impact at least one life by the decision to provide these kits. We have a love for Clemson University students and wanted to sponsor something that would impact campus on a personal level.”

One of the students Smart met during the first training in January was Jake Watrous, a junior mechanical engineering major from Warrenton, Virginia. Watrous had surgery when he was an infant to repair multiple holes in his heart. Because of the surgery, he has an enlarged aorta.

He acknowledges the CPR in Schools program will provide fellow students with a useful skill in the event of an emergency.

“Because of my past, I’m more susceptible to need it,” Watrous said. “It’s comforting to think of more people on campus knowing what to do in CPR-required situations.

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