Rufus King students learn CPR, AED skills

MILWAUKEE -- On Valentine's Day, Milwaukee Public School students were thinking about the heart, and learning skills to utilize when it comes to emergency situations involving this vital organ.

There was a lot of shouting going on in the gymnasium at Rufus King High School Tuesday. Students were learning what to do when someone is suspected of being in cardiac arrest. Calling for help requires no training, but CPR does. Students learned important techniques that will help them properly perform CPR during emergency situations.

Rufus King's Ready Club helped organize the event. Ready stands for "Responding to Emergencies and Disasters with Youth." "My hope for this event is that kids learn CPR, and when or if an emergency strikes, they can respond and help out," Rufus King Ready Club Founder Liam O'Neil said.

Students also learned how to use automated external defibrillators, which are located in every MPS school, thanks to funding from local partners and Project Adam. "Every minute counts, so having one in a school that is ready and has a process in place to immediately respond, the survival rate is hugely different," Joe Lemel said.

Lemel knows just how precious those moments are. In 1999, Lemel's son, Adam, died in a high school gym while playing basketball. He had seemed perfectly healthy. "What we learned after this is he would have had his best chance of survival had there been a process in place. Project Adam is at the point of promoting throughout the country," Lemel said.

Lemel is encouraged in knowing these Rufus King students can now go out and possibly save a fellow student's life, or the life of someone in their community.

Currently, there are 225 defibrillators installed in 163 MPS sites, including schools, offices, football stadiums, community centers and maintenance buildings. Lemel says since Project Adam began, 57 lives have been saved.