City employees getting AED, CPR training
ALTON, Jan 01, 2013 (The Telegraph - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
Firefighters are in the process of training Alton's 238 full-time and seasonal employees in CPR and using AEDs as the city awaits arrival of seven units late this month.
"We've trained 23 city employees in three classes" so far, Chief Bernie Sebold of the Alton Fire Department said Monday about the City Hall personnel's training, except for the mayor.
Mayor Tom Hoechst, who was not available for the first three classes, will undergo instruction with another group of workers, Sebold said.
Next on the schedule in a couple of weeks, firefighters will train staff in the Public Works Department on using the automated external defibrillators and how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation.
"Hopefully, we also will catch the wastewater workers," the fire chief said.
The firefighter-instructors are using a training model that only differs from the real AEDs in that it does not emit an electrical shock.
"They can see, feel, hear and touch an actual AED that we will be getting" during training, he said.
AEDs diagnose cardiac arrhythmias that can precede a heart attack and treat the irregular heartbeat with electrical therapy to restore the proper rhythm. The devices have visible and audible directions so as to walk the user through the process, allowing laymen not trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation to utilize the machine.
Aldermen authorized Sebold to order the devices, cabinets and a carrying case at the Oct. 10 City Council meeting. The AEDs, though, remain on back order from Cardiac Science Corp. of Waukesha, Wis. Sebold said he expects the equipment to arrive in Alton by the end of January.
The $7,783 purchase was through a state contract.
The AEDs will be located for employee and public access in a cabinet near the City Clerk's Office on the first floor of City Hall; at the sewer treatment plant; Public Works building; Riverfront Park amphitheater; Gordon F. Moore Park; the Park and Recreation Department; and inside the police command center in the Donald E. Sandidge Alton Law Enforcement Center, across the lobby from the courtroom.
There already is an AED upstairs in the jail.
When someone opens an AED-containing cabinet, an alarm sounds.
"The alarm will sound if somebody tampers with the device," Sebold said. "More importantly, in a perfect world, if somebody needs help, people trained in AED/CPR should come running and assist in CPR" when the alarm sounds.
"They really are a life-saving device; the more people use them, the more lives that can be saved," he said.
Employees who complete the two-hour course receive AED/CPR certification. Sebold said firefighters and police officers already have the certification, but he expects to provide a refresher class to police on using the devices.
The public also can take the CPR/AED classes at the Fire Department, which are held from time to time when 12 people sign up. For more information, call (618) 463-3565.
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