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With school starting, many programs halted by the pandemic will resume. This includes the Salem Fire Foundation’s in-person CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) training for 8th graders. Oregon is one of the thirty-eight states that require students to learn CPR before high school graduation. 

Annually, there are more than 356,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in the U.S. Many incidents occur in the home, and most are fatal. Performing CPR doubles or triples the odds of survival. 

The Foundation’s in-school program has successfully taught over 16,000 Salem/Keizer students CPR and how to use an AED (automatic external defibrillator). During the lockdown, the Foundation filmed an award-winning video in English so students could complete the training online.

Salem/Keizer school district is highly diverse, with over 30% of the students speaking a language other than English at home. 

Salem Fire Foundation Executive Director Mary Louise VanNatta was concerned that the training might not reach all students. “Students speak over 82 languages in our district. We knew we wouldn’t reach all 8th graders with an English-only video. That’s when we applied for a grant from the Oregon Community Foundation to translate our video,” she said.

The Foundation received the grant and translated the CPR training into nine additional languages. The video is now available with closed captions in Spanish, Russian, Mandarin, Vietnamese, Pashto, Arabic, Swahili, Marshallese, and Chuukese (Micronesian language spoken on the islands of Chuuk)

Salem Fire Chief, MIke Niblock

Salem Fire Chief Mike Niblock is pleased the Foundation can expand its reach. “Learning CPR and how to use an AED are life-saving skills that shouldn’t be restricted by a language barrier,” he said.
The video is available for viewing by anyone at or  CPR Training for 8th Graders | Salem Fire Foundation.


About the Salem Fire Foundation: The Salem Fire Foundation (SFF) is a private, non-profit 501(c)3 dedicated to assisting the Salem Fire Department to achieve its core mission of saving lives through the funding of the following programs: Community Outreach and Engagement in CPR and AED Training, Employee Recognition and Development, Fire Prevention and Risk Awareness, Service Enhancements, Assistance for Injured Firefighters and their Families, and Special Projects. To learn more, visit or call 503-371-7457.