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Thompson School District Introduces CPR and AED Training into School Health Curriculum

Thompson School District has completed a pilot program for all 10th-grade students at Thompson Valley High School which introduced cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training into the school’s health curriculum.  Several organizations partnered with the district to make this new curriculum possible, including Thompson Valley EMS, Loveland Police Department, Loveland Fire and Rescue Authority, Banner Health and the McKee Medical Center Foundation.  The concept was created by several local community leaders, with the Thompson Safety Education Coalition being instrumental in bringing the concept to realization. The program is made possible through the Heart Safe Community Initiative and is funded through the McKee Medical Center Foundation.

Students participated in the pilot program as a part of normal classroom activities and training occurred during their Advisory session. During this time, students learned the standard approach to CPR that the American Heart Association has successfully implemented in other school programs across the nation. Instructors also taught how to use an AED. Certified emergency personnel from local agencies served as instructors. They distributed “Friends and Family” CPR training kits and students were also encouraged to use the resources to teach family members and friends.

“Thompson School District is very proud of its partnership with the Heart Safe Community Initiative,” said Chief Academic Officer Dr. Margaret Crespo.  “AED units and CPR techniques have been used on our campuses to save lives.  It is our hope that through this program, more students learned the skills and techniques that can make a difference when it matters the most.  We are thankful to all of our community partners for their continued support and the ability to make this excellent program available to our students.”

Approximately 160 students participated in the pilot program.  An expansion of the classes into other schools within the district is also in the planning stages at this time.

In 2014, the McKee Medical Center Foundation partnered with Thompson Valley EMS, Loveland Police Department, Loveland Fire and Rescue Authority, Loveland Emergency Communications Center, CardioVascular Institute of North Colorado, Banner Health and community members Tom Lucero and Julie Kruit to form the Heart Safe Community Initiative. The goal was to place as many automated external defibrillators as possible in the Thompson Valley EMS service area and to provide CPR training to community members.

The McKee Medical Center Foundation has raised $634,000 to support the initiative through sponsored events like the Community Classic Bike Tour, Turkey Trot and the McKee Gala. The money has been used to fund CPR training for more than 1,000 people and has helped place 106 AEDs throughout the community.

"The HeartSafe Community Initiative was created for Loveland and the surrounding community to increase the chance of survival when a person's heart stops beating," said Allis Gilbert, executive director of the McKee Medical Center Foundation. "These students will have the training they need to assist in an emergency and we hope they encourage others to do the same."

“The best chance of survival for a person who suffers sudden cardiac arrest is a combination of CPR and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED),” said Thompson Valley EMS Chief Randy Lesher. “This program is an opportunity to provide these students with life-saving skills that they will carry with them for the rest of their lives.”

For more information on the pilot program, please contact Michael Hausmann, Thompson School District Public Information Officer, at 970-613-5011 or via e-mail at