Staff at New England school learns life-saving skills

On September 28, there was no school for the students; however 26 teachers and staff of New England Public School became the students and were in the classroom learning CPR and First Aid.

Kris Jung (Left), and Tracy McSweyn (Right) are working as a team using the AED training device. (PHOTOS BY RACHEL BOCK | The Herald)
Kris Jung (Left), and Tracy McSweyn (Right) are working as a team using the AED training device. (PHOTOS BY RACHEL BOCK | The Herald)

By RACHEL BOCK | Herald Reporter

On September 28, there was no school for the students; however 26 teachers and staff of New England Public School became the students and were in the classroom learning CPR and First Aid. The training was taught by Shannay Witte, who has been offering the first responder class every two years to the staff at New England Public School. Witte has been teaching the course for over 12 years and before she could teach the class she had to have training called BELS (Basic Emergency Life Support) to be certified to teach the class. She also has to continue every so often taking refresher courses as part of her certification.

Not only has the staff been certified, but Witte also teaches the same course every two years to grades 9-12. She started the high school class three years ago, and since the certification is good for two years she now only has to offer the training to the 9th and 11th grade students, along with the staff, every two years.

“As long as I continue to do grades nine and 11, then our entire high school students are trained, all of them are certified. This is great because I have a lot of kids who want to get a job as a CNA, or they want to get a job at the swimming pool. To have CPR is a requirement for those jobs, and employers are just excited that we have done this and they have certification,” Witte said.

All the students and staff at New England Public school who complete the course are certified in CPR and First Aid. Witte also teaches in the class how to run and properly use an AED (Automated external defibrillator). Witte observed every one in the class operating the AED which everyone in attendance is also certified to use the AED in a heart attack emergency.

“You can take care of something that happens when you’re present and that you come upon, you are just the first step until you get EMS involved. It is nice to be able to do it in the school setting, because there are so many things that are unique to the school setting. Things that we see that we know were going to see like kids with scraped knees and things like that. As a staff we can talk about this is what we have seen, this is the correct way to handle that,” Witte said.

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