Teaching skills to save a life

Justin Crann
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St. John Ambulance again offers CPR, AED training

To save lives, proper training can be paramount.

A student practices CPR during one of St. John Ambulance's training sessions. The two-day standard first aid course teaches a wide array of skills that can be used to assist people in a case of medical emergency. 

St. John Ambulance is once again offering classes in CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) use to help equip people with the skills they need to rescue others if they go into cardiac arrest.

"Cardiac and respiratory emergencies can happen anywhere and at any time … (and) the quick application of CPR and an AED to a person suffering cardiac arrest will substantially increase their survival rate," said Robyn Tessier, marketing co-ordinator for the organization.

St. John Ambulance's course encompasses many first aid skills, from dealing with individuals who are unconscious, those who have suffered broken bones, and those with life-threatening injuries, as well as those in cardiac arrest.

CPR and AED use is part of the training, and participants learn about basic CPR, infant and child CPR, and two-man CPR, which involves the AED device when it is required.

In the use of both skills, said Tessier, "it's all about being comfortable."

This is especially the case with AED devices, which may seem more intimidating than they are.

"They're very safe devices because they will not allow people to deliver the shock unless it's necessary," said Tessier. "People are a little skeptical about using them, but training familiarizes them with the machines so they're more comfortable using them if a situation does arise."

The process of familiarization involves "a lot of hands-on training," she added.

"That's why people are invited to come for the two-day course. Not only are they getting the theoretical learning and writing the exam, but they're also getting a lot of practice," said Tessier.

"The faster help can arrive and the more confident a person is in using CPR and the AED, the better they will be at saving someone else's life."

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