This past week, the Verona Police Department sponsored a class to train Verona High School students in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and using an automated external defibrillator (AED). It was the first time that a course like this has been offered to schools by the Verona Police.
The training was offered during VHS’ lunch period, and 28 students, ranging from freshmen to seniors, participated in it. A variety of Verona law enforcement officers, volunteer EMTs, nurses, and civilian responders donated their time to help make the training thorough and successful. Students who attended the sessions every day were able to become CPR certified on Friday.
Trainings consisted of videos made by the American Safety and Health Institute, covering a variety of topics, from finding help in an emergency situation to how to perform CPR on someone who needs it. The officers present at the trainings also showed students examples of performing CPR and using AEDs on dummies. On Friday, the students were able to test out what they had learned, and practice CPR and AED use on the dummies.
“The most beneficial aspect for high school students is their ability to help during a medical incident,” said Officer Joel Martin, who was at each training day. “These emergencies can happen anywhere, at any time, so knowing what to do is extremely valuable for anyone.”
Officer Martin also discussed how difficult it is to replicate the true nature and chaos of an emergency scene in a classroom setting. In order to get the message across about the havoc in situations like these, police officers brought in Rich Williamson on the first day of training. Williamson, who once ran for Verona’s Town Council, suffered a medical emergency in the gymnasium at H.B. Whitehorne in March 2011, and his condition required both CPR and AED use.
Lunch was provided to the students every day; the Verona Policeman’s Benevolent Association Local 72 provided two days, the Verona High School SCA provided another two, and one day was provided by Hot Bagels-N-More, free of charge to the police department, school and students.
The students voluntarily gave up their lunch periods to attend the training. Meaghan Elliott, a junior who attended the training said, “I really enjoyed the class because now I feel prepared to respond to an emergency situation if needed.” Lizzy Barile, a senior who has previously been CPR certified, said, “The officers were great teachers. They kept it interesting while teaching us effective life-saving skills. I took the class to re-certify and review skills before nursing school, and it was well worth it.”
Another training may occur in the spring at the high school, but the decision is yet to be made. VHS students should listen for morning announcements to be notified of the new training. Students can also look online for local organizations that host similar trainings if they are interested in becoming CPR certified.