Teachers and staff at Ruby-Wise Elementary School in Deville got some training Monday (Aug. 13, 2018) from members of the Ruby-Kolin Fire Department. Staff learned about first aid, fire suppression and how to use an AED (automated external defibrillator). The school recently received an AED from the department, which was purchased through donations. Wochit
DEVILLE — Tom Webster stood in front of a group of Ruby-Wise Elementary School teachers and support staff and asked if they had any experience with first aid.
"I have on-the-job training with my kids," quipped sixth-grade social studies teacher Angie Sasser.
It was the same for most of the group, but Webster and other members of the Ruby-Kolin Fire Department were at the school Monday morning to teach some basic first aid, fire safety and how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) on the day before students return for a new year.
It was an idea that evolved after a suggestion came from within the fire department to equip the school with an AED, said Chief Mike Paulk. The device, which costs about $1,400, was purchased with donations.
In the gymnasium, Colin Davis talked about how to use some different bandages and a tourniquet to stop bleeding. He warned that they likely wouldn't have a need to use a tourniquet but, if they did, the situation would be serious.
"It can by very scary if you ever have to do it," said Davis. "The biggest thing is just remain calm."
The group broke into two smaller groups and began practicing techniques. Someone asked if the school had a first-aid kit, and nobody had an immediate answer.
"We need one," said Principal Harry Welch.
In the library, Brandon Barnes talked about CPR and its changing standards. He also said training like this is important for schools because help might be crucial minutes away in a life-threatening situation.
"My heart sinks every time this school calls 911," said Barnes, whose son attends the school.
He also urged them not to perform mouth-to-mouth on people without an appropriate mouth guard. The department will be providing every teacher at the school with guards soon, and it can prevent the transmission of any diseases should CPR be necessary.
He also had blunt words about the realities of emergency medicine, recalling how one teacher had to look away from a video of someone vomiting. People susceptible to becoming queasy or ill might want to provide some other assistance, he said.
Barnes said the training staff underwent Monday isn't mandatory in Rapides Parish. He said Ruby-Wise was the only school in the parish to undergo the training. Not all schools in Rapides Parish have AEDs, either, he said.
The goal of the training is to allow staff members to begin emergency treatment until firefighters arrive, he said.
"You are here to sustain life until I get here with my nifty little bag with all my gadgets in it," said Barnes.
Staff took some of the information given by Barnes into the cafeteria next door for hands-on training. Firefighters Mitchell Schumacher, a certified CPR instructor, and Derek Desselle, a medic who also works for the Alexandria Fire Department, led this portion of the training.
If someone is unresponsive, Schumacher said it's important to try verbal commands and physical stimulus on the person to see if they'll wake up. He also told them to check for a pulse, first a carotid on the neck and then the brachial pulse on the inner arm between the bicep and tricep.
After practicing on finding their pulses, the group took turns on CPR training dummies after Schumacher demonstrated. He watched them, correcting their techniques as they practiced.
"If you're not cracking ribs, you're not doing CPR," said Desselle.
Welch participated in the training, asking questions about the life of the AED battery. He has to report such information to the central office, but couldn't find any information about it on the device.
Schumacher took the battery out, finding out it's good until 2021.
Welch said training like this is valuable to his staff, especially since his school is so far out in the country. He echoed Paulk's comments, that the training grew out of the desire to equip Ruby-Wise with an AED.
That's great, he said, but it's useless unless you know how to operate it. Monday's training didn't come with any certifications for the staff, but the knowledge was important.
"At least you have an idea, and if they want to get certified, we can set up a class."