The Right Turn in Pierre recently purchased new cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) training mannequins to help the agency meet new electronic feedback requirements.

“These mannequins are great,” said Maria Hays, CPR instructor at The Right Turn. “They tell you right away if a student is pushing in the right spot and using the right amount of pressure.”

“Childcare providers are some of the lowest paid workers in our community, yet they are on the front lines of safety for our children. Many of our CPR students are childcare providers, but we also have classes for construction workers, health care professionals, teachers and many other individuals,” said Mary Gates, director of The Right Turn. ”I can’t think of anyone who would not benefit from taking a CPR class.”

Gates herself took CPR many years ago. She felt fairly confident that she could still help in an emergency, even though her certification had lapsed. “What I learned, though, is that there is new research that changes the way CPR should be done. I might not have harmed a person, but I probably would not have helped them very much either,” said Gates.

Along with regular CPR classes, The Right Turn also offers online classes, These are a blended learning option in which students watch videos and interact with simulations on their own computer and then make an appointment for a hands-on skills test with a certified instructor.

“This can be a great option for employers who need to get a large number of people certified in a short period of time,” said Gates. Students complete the first part of the course on their own, and then Right Turn staff schedule an assembly-line system with multiple instructors to efficiently answer questions and observe the skills tests. “This option also works well for people who are in a hurry to obtain CPR certification, since skills tests can be arranged almost any time and with short notice,” said Gates.

Gates warns that people should be cautious about online training from other companies.

“We sometimes encounter people who took a random CPR class they found online and find themselves in hot water because the class does not meet OSHA or other regulations required by their job,” Gates said. People should be wary of free classes and any class that does not include a hands-on skills test with updated mannequins and a certified instructor.

The American Red Cross and the American Heart Association are the most accepted CPR certification credentials in the United States. Both groups recently updated their curriculum, now requiring instructors to use technology-enhanced mannequins.

Last year, the Right Turn provided CPR certification training for almost 200 people. The South Dakota Department of Social Services subsidizes CPR training at The Right Turn for child care providers who work in licensed programs. Regulations require that people who work in a licensed childcare program in South Dakota maintain current CPR certification, valid for two years.

The outcomes when people use the latest techniques are much better than they were in the past. A recent study in Sweden indicates that CPR nearly doubles the survival outcome for people who experience cardiac arrest outside of a hospital. CPR given by bystanders has nearly doubled. This national study focused on bystander-witnessed out-of-hospital cardiac arrest involving 30,445 patients. Compression-only (hands-only) CPR has increased six-fold over the last 18 years.

According to American Heart Association (AHA) statistics, in the United States more than 325,000 cardiac arrests occur outside of the hospital each year. Cardiac arrest — a sudden loss of heart function — is fatal if appropriate steps are not taken. The AHA says immediate CPR can double or triple the chances of survival after cardiac arrest. Keeping the blood flow active — even partially — extends the chances for a successful resuscitation once trained medical staff arrive. More research is needed on whether standard CPR with compression and rescue breaths is better than than compression-only CPR.

The Right Turn supports education across the lifespan and provides many classes on various topics including CPR. For more information, visit their website at or call 605-773-4755. The Right Turn is a nonprofit United Way participating agency with classrooms in Pierre and outreach services throughout central South Dakota.

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