Bill Capo / Eyewitness News
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NEW ORLEANS -- New Orleans EMS paramedics spent a week at Holy Cross High School, teaching eighth graders, sophomores and seniors how to save lives if someone has a heart attack.

They are learning the latest version of CPR.

'The days of mouth-to-mouth are really gone, so for the lay bystander really only doing chest compressions is all you need to do in a cardiac arrest,' said New Orleans EMS Director Dr. Jeffrey Elder.

Paramedics are also teaching the students how to use AEDs, automatic external defibrillators, to shock stopped hearts back to life, and how to help someone who is choking.

'Not only will it provide a benefit to the community by putting these guys out in the community well trained,' said Holy Cross Headmaster Charles DeGange, 'we're also helping our campus, because we're going to have a number of young men walking around who know what to do in case one of their classmates goes down.'

The goal for EMS is to have every high school senior graduate knowing how to save lives by performing non-compression CPR. But Holy Cross is the only school they've worked with. That's why they called the Action Line, to get the word out.

'Here we'll do close to 400 students, and we're looking to expand this to other schools in the area,' Elder said.

'Actually doing it, that would be kind of exciting, and kind of make me nervous at the same time,' said Holy Cross senior Ryan Smith. 'But you're ready? Yes, sir.'

For more about registering a school for the CPR classes, call the city's Emergency Medical Services AT 658-2647, or visit their website at

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