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Local News

February 8, 2014

County, school team up to teach EMS skills

Students and staff members at Laurens Central School are better equipped to meet some of life’s surprises thanks to a special collaboration, an official said Friday.

In January, the Otsego County Office of Emergency Services held CPR and automated emergency defibrillator (AED) training for school staff in the school’s multipurpose room. In December, similar training was provided for students, said Robert Satriano, agency health and safety coordinator, who led the instruction.

While other schools might teach the skills, Satriano said, Laurens is one of few he knows of that has it certified. This assures quality of care and provides life skills that could be helpful on job applications, he said. The program also exposes participants to issues in health care, he added.

Working with other instructors, he talks about the Emergency Medical Services system and how the participants can be an integral part of providing care, he said. Since it takes only four to six minutes for someone undergoing cardiac arrest to suffer brain damage, EMS staff may not be able to respond in time, he said.

The more who are trained in these lifesaving techniques, the better chance people have of “beating the clock,” he said.

Laurens Superintendent Romona Wenck said coaches have always had CPR training through the agency. Several years ago when the state mandated that the school had to have a defibrillator, she said, the training was expanded. But when it became difficult to schedule, a school physical education teacher with EMT training, Christine Cox, spoke to people she was working with, and their skills were offered to teachers, staff and students, Wenck said.

In December, 37 high school students were trained. The Jan. 15 training included 26 staff members. Because of the interest, about 75 of the nearly 100-member Laurens staff can assist people who need the life-saving techniques.

Since “we are responsible for students and each other” these are skills everyone should have that are easy to learn, Wenck said.

For information about scheduling training, call the agency at 547-4226.

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