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As a substitute teacher, should I be trained in CPR?

In early May, middle schools students from Edward Town Middle School, located near Niagara Falls, NY, had the opportunity to learn valuable life saving techniques. This was included in a program by Firefighters from the Niagara Falls Airbase designed to teach basic CPR compressions to the more than 300 6th grade students at the school.

CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, uses a combination of rescue breathing and chest compressions to assist a person who is not breathing. According to, “Effective bystander CPR provided immediately after sudden cardiac arrest can double or triple a victim’s chance of survival.” With such a high impact rate, it makes sense to introduce students to CPR at an early age. Fire Chief, Joe Foucha, explained, “If they can push down and do the compression - they are just as capable as I am.” This same sentiment is true of teachers.

Currently, CPR training for teachers is only mandatory in the states of Indiana, Oregon, and Virginia. Just because it isn’t a statutory requirement of the job, doesn’t mean you should neglect to become certified in CPR. Not only will this make you a more desirable substitute teacher, but your knowledge about what to do in an emergency could save a student - or a loved one's - life. Depending on school policies, being CPR certified may also allow you to work in other roles such as physical education teacher, school lifeguard, or as a coach for a school sanctioned sports team.

As a substitute teacher, you make it your job to help students. Often, this is in an academic context. If you ever find yourself facing a medical emergency, however, you want to be prepared.

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