P.U.L.S.E. training needs funding
Rudy Malesich, founder of the Preventing Unnecessary Life Loss through Student Education, or P.U.L.S.E., training program believes the world would be a safer place if all students knew how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
But, funding for the popular program, which currently reaches every high school student in Mesa County School District 51, is running out.
Malesich and his program partner, Fidel Garcia, began teaching teens how to save lives two years ago. This year, they were unsuccessful in applying for a large grant to continue the program.
“Unless we get a big donation, I don’t know what we’ll do,” Malesich said as he watched a group of students begin rescue breathing on dummies at Fruita Monument High School Tuesday afternoon.
The program needs $5,700 per year to cover costs, which include replacement of practice mannequins, cards that students carry outlining the CPR steps, and giving the EMT volunteers a small teaching stipend.
The program certifies 1,200 high school students per year in grades 8 through 12.
Malesich feels strongly that all children and teenagers should know how to perform CPR. “We would all be so much safer if all these kids knew it,” he said.
“Demand for this has been unbelievable,” Malesich said.
His goal, if funding were available, is to eventually train children as young as kindergarten within the district so that everyone is familiar with the steps needed to save a life.
Malesich said that if a teenager were in a situation where rescue breathing were necessary, most likely the victim would be one of the teen’s family members. That’s why a new component to the program that addresses the health of the entire family was added to the program this year.
During the presentation, Malesich stands over a body bag and tells the students that they have the power to save a life even before resuscitation is necessary.
He gives each student a letter addressed to their parents that asks them to exercise and eat right. It includes a list of simple steps families can use to improve their health, such as taking an after-dinner walk and eating less saturated fat and cholesterol.
Although a shocking method, Malesich said it makes a huge impression on students as to the seriousness of making good lifestyle choices, not only for themselves but also their families.
The students are then given a quick lesson about cardiopulmonary resuscitation, following the new guidelines outlined by the American Heart Association.
“Let them know they can choose between a body bag or a gym bag,” Malesich tells the students.