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Tragedy leads to first 'CPR Smart School' in Western New York

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Courtesy of the American Heart Association
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In June of 2009, a 14-year-old freshman from Akron Central School District took her last breath in her mother's arms on the soccer fields in the town of Newstead after suffering a sudden cardiac arrest. Annette Adamczak has since been working to teach thousands of students CPR in an effort to honor her late daughter, Emily.

Emily's tragic death and her mother's efforts were honored Tuesday night, as the American Heart Association named the Akron Central School District the first "CPR Smart School" in Western New York. The new Heart Association program recognizes schools with a written policy that calls for students to receive cardiopulmonary resuscitation or CPR instruction. 

Akron's policy requires students to be taught CPR before graduation. The instruction involves identifying someone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest, calling 911 and performing hands-only CPR as well as learning how to use an Automated External Defibrillator or AED.

Adamczak and officials with the Heart Association are hoping other schools follow Akron's lead.  They contend that teaching CPR in high school can "create an army of lifesavers."

Earlier this month, the New York State Board of Regents recommended that hands-only CPR and AED use become part of state curriculum. The State Education Department is expected to present regulations to the Regents in May. Those regulations will be open for public comment.

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