Fort Riley, Kansas



Students learn skills to save lives during everyday situations

By Season Osterfeld | 1ST INF. DIV. POST | October 06, 2017

    Twelve infant mannequin were laying on tables before a group of students — Soldiers and civilians alike — in a si­lent room. The class instructed the infants were not breathing and were unresponsive. They needed CPR. People scanned the room, looking back and forth between the mannequin and one another before some­one took the plunge and be­gan CPR. The others followed, some lagging behind to watch the actions of their peers.

     These students were part of the HeartSaver Course offered by Fort Riley Fire and Emer­gency Services Sept. 26 at Fire Headquarters, 1020 Huebner Road. Infant CPR is the last portion of the course and, as one instructor said, the most difficult because of the emo­tional and mental challenges people go through when faced with an unresponsive infant.

     The course teaches students how to perform CPR on all ages, the proper use of Auto­mated External Defibrillators and response to a choking in­dividual. The course is certified as American Heart Association training and operates under the direction of the Via Christi-Manhattan Training Center in Manhattan, Kansas. Students who successfully complete the course receive a two-year certifi­cation from the American Heart Association.

     “We teach CPR classes to equip people with the knowl­edge and skills required to per­form CPR as well as utilize an Automated External Defibril­lator,” said Rich Watson, as­sistant chief of prevention for Fort Riley Fire and Emergency Services. “There are currently just over 150 AEDs strategically placed across the installation for public access. Approximately 75 percent of all cardiac arrest cases occur either at home or in public places. Often, the first person to encounter the victim is a fam­ily member or bystander. If that person is able to provide CPR and utilize an AED properly, the victim’s chances of survival are significantly increased. For these types of situations, we teach the HeartSaver course, which is designed for the layperson or someone who is not a medical professional. The HeartSaver course covers CPR and AED delivery as well as care of a chok­ing victim, be it an adult, child or infant.”

     The course uses a combina­tion of video scenarios, step-by-step video instruction and hands-on training with manne­quin under the guidance of in­structors to teach each student. During the hands-on portion, instructors moved about the room answering questions and correcting errors in technique.

     Sgt. Gerald Pittman, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, attended the class as part of a require­ment for his job, but said he enjoyed it. He said he found the class clear, engaging and appreciated the combination of approaches to assist him and his peers in learning how to perform CPR properly.

     “The mix between the vid­eos and the hands on — the simulations in the videos, the simulations in the activities — all of that kept it clear and helped you visualize and get into it,” he said.

      Pittman said he would go through the course again when it is time for him to re­new his certification.

     “You never know when you might end up in a situation that you might need to save a life,” he said.

     Fort Riley Fire and Emer­gency Services offers the Heart­Saver course multiple times a year free of cost to service mem­bers, dependents, contractors and Department of the Army civilians. Advanced registration is required. For schedule dates of the next class or to enroll, call 785-240-6241.

     “We publish our training cal­endars two months at a time and our November and December classes will be sent out between the middle and end of October,” Watson said. “Anyone interested in adding their name to the dis­tribution list or attending one of our classes or would need to call 785-240-6241 to register. It is important that people not just show for a class they have not successfully registered for based on the limited number of seats for each class.”