Pinney Elementary School students got a life-saving lesson last week.

Pinney Elementary School students got a life-saving lesson last week.

In the school's effort to be accredited as a Heart Healthy School, fourth- and fifth-graders learned cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

The lesson was the first step to become a school that knows how to help people who go into cardiac arrest and is educated on heart health.

"A student went into cardiac arrest a few years ago so we partnered with the family on this," said Principal Troy Ehrsam. "This is awareness for the school."

To become accredited as a Heart Healthy School, Pinney Elementary must complete seven steps that include education on heart health, plans for students with heart problems and CPR training for staff and many students to have a ratio of one in 50 people to help in the case of cardiac arrest.

"We're well over that ratio," Ehrsam said. "We're at about one in 10."

The school had an automated external defibrillator, but procured one more for the effort.

"Every elementary school has an AED," Ehrsam said.

"We wrote a grant so we could have one upstairs and one downstairs. There's an AED no further than three minutes from any part of the building. I thought it would be safe to have two in the building."

AED training was part of CPR training for Pinney fourth- and fifth-graders last week.

"Thirty minutes from now you'll be little heroes because you'll know how to help somebody," Bob Williams from the Fairfield Medical Center told students last week.

The training, however, isn't aimed at making heroes; it's more about combating fear, Williams said.

"It's a struggle with the older population," he said. "There's a fear to help."

Getting children trained young is a step the Fairfield Medical Center is taking to eliminate that fear.

"In the seventh, eighth and ninth grade they'll continue to take CPR," he said. "At that point they don't have the fear. It's something that's second nature."

Students did have a little fear of the AED during training, backing away when the machine warned of an oncoming charge of electricity.

A disappointed chorus of "Awwws" erupted when the dummy showed no signs of the charge.

During the training, students learned the four A's of helping: assess, alert, attend and AED.

According to Williams, CPR and AED greatly improve the chance of survival in someone who has experienced cardiac arrest.

"When you use an AED, there's a 70-percent chance of survival," he said.

Since starting CPR training in 2012, the Fairfield Medical Center has educated more than 8,000.

Pinney added on another 200 and Williams said he'll visit 13 more schools before summer break, including Dublin's Grizzell Middle School.

"The biggest thing to remember is don't be afraid," he told students. "If someone is down, you're not going to hurt them anymore than they already are."

With CPR training for students complete, the next step towards accreditation is drills.

"We do fire drills once a month," Ehrsam said.

"We hope to do at some point a heart drill ... . It's a big process. We're more excited to bring awareness to students and staff and get it out to the people in the community."