Louis and Tara Nash found a way to spend time together while showing each other how much they care. The couple did so by attending Saturday’s “Save Your Sweetheart” CPR class at Memorial Methodist Church in Farmington.
“I saw this in the Daily Journal and thought it would be great to know what to do if one of us has a heart attack,” Tara Nash said. “Also, we pastor a local church and have had to call 9-1-1 before.”
The course, offered by the St. Francois County Health Department and the St. Francois County Ambulance District, was offered at the church morning and afternoon. Although there were 11 students in the morning session, no one signed up for the afternoon, said Lynn Blackwell, health educator for the health department.
“We want to see 50 people here next year,” Blackwell said. “I love seeing the wide age range.”
The session followed along with an interactive video. Randy Davis, an educator for the ambulance district, led the instruction. With the help of ambulance district director David Tetrault and volunteer Greg Naeger, Davis provided training mannequins and dummies so students could practice the skills they were learning. They began with techniques to revive adults, then moved to children and infants. In addition to chest compression and breathing techniques, the students learned to use an automatic external defibrillator.
“I have seven grandkids,” said Cathy Huber, who attended with her daughter and daughter-in-law.
Blackwell started a metronome to help students keep the rhythm of compressions while Davis provided encouragement and instructions.
“The compressions should be fast and deep, fast and deep,” he said while they practiced methods for children. “When you hit 30, give the breaths.”
When the students switched to infants, he reminded them to continue the firm movements, even if it bruises the child.
“You want to see a bruised baby not a dead baby,” he said.
Tara Inman was particularly interested in the CPR for children. One of her sons has epilepsy, and she might need to know what to do if he stops breathing.
At the end of the course, each student received a certificate.
Health educators already are looking ahead to next year. Blackwell said the annual class is scheduled for 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., Feb. 9, 2013.
Paula Barr is a reporter for the Daily Journal and can be reached at 573-431-2010, ext. 172 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.