Above, Medical Magnet coordinator Angela Langham leads a class in CPR at Madison Middle School.
Walking through the hallways of Madison Middle School on Friday were a dozen eighth-graders swathed in gauze or sporting arm-slings.
They hadn’t been in a catastrophic accident or a rugby scrum, but in a first-aid class taught by Angela Langham, coordinator of Madison’s Medical/Math/Science Magnet. Certified as a first-aid instructor by the American Red Cross, Langham is ensuring that her students know what to do – and what not to do – during an emergency.
“It feels great to learn about CPR and first aid because now I have the ability to save lives,” said student Jeser Morales.
During monthly first-aid training sessions held during their advisory period, Langham’s students are learning how to respond when someone is choking, having a stroke or heart attack, suffering an allergic reaction or going into shock. There are lessons in performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation, using an external defibrillator, dressing wounds and burns and treating fractures. And, equally important is teaching students to recognize when it’s time to call for help.
“CPR was different from anything we had learned in our Medical Magnet classes,” said eighth-grader Anahit Janikyan. “It was hands-on and fun but still educational, so I feel like I can help someone in need.”
Langham said her experiences as a teen-age lifeguard and throughout her adult life inspired her to teach first-aid skills to her students. She peppers her lessons with personal anecdotes – like the time she saved a young relative who was choking on a coin – to help students understand that tragedy can be averted if they are prepared to act.
“To see that spark when they realize that knowing how to perform CPR or help someone who is choking or even when to call 911 can help to save a life,” Langham said. “It’s really amazing.”
Madison has 15 first-aid mannequins that Langham uses to teach students the technique for performing life-saving chest compressions. Students practice other first-aid skills on one another, like Friday’s lesson on how to tie a sling to support a broken arm.
“Learning about CPR, AED and first aid was an amazing experience,” said Tamanna Hasib. “I really, truly believe this will be useful knowledge since I am planning to work in a hospital as a doctor.”
Langham is teaching the students in small groups so all of the magnet’s 100 eighth-graders will have been trained in CPR and first aid by the end of the school year. She also plans to provide instruction to Madison’s faculty and staff.
“Everyone should know these skills – definitely,” she said. “It’s just a small thing, but it’s something that can save a person’s life.”