There is a good reason why we teach CPR to students at junior high schools in Petaluma. It has been proven to save lives.

That fact was once again confirmed last month when 13-year-old Lucy Decker, a student at Petaluma Junior High School, stepped up to aid a collapsed man at a rowing event in Oakland. Decker had just learned the hands-only technique in P.E. class when she spotted a bystander doing it wrong. The teen stepped up and demonstrated correct chest compressions, sustaining the ailing man until paramedics arrived.

This was the second example of a Petaluma teen using CPR to save a life in two years.

Decker learned CPR at school as part of a countywide initiative to train juniors high students to become potential lifesavers and help schools be prepared for a cardiac emergency. Save Lives Sonoma works in partnership with HeartSafe Community, an initiative of the Petaluma Health Care District, which brings together various first responder agencies and nonprofits, including the Petaluma Fire Department, the American Heart Association, and emergency services.

Through the work of Save Lives Sonoma and HeartSafe Community, schools can become certified as “HeartSafe,” meaning they have a maintained and accessible defibrillator, CPR certified staff, and opportunities to train students in hands-only CPR. This year, all schools within the Petaluma area have become certified as a HeartSafe campus.

Save Lives Sonoma needs help educating potential bystanders about the merits of hands-only CPR. To donate, or to learn more about hands-only CPR, visit savelivessonoma.com.