Some 50 teachers from various institutions across Westmoreland and St. Elizabeth are better able to adequately respond to health emergencies having completed the first in a  series of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) & automated external defibrillator (AED) training.

The Emergency First Response® training was recently held at Sandals South Coast and was made possible through the Sandals Foundation’s partnership with the Professional Association of Diving Instructors® (PADI®).

James Morgan, Vice President of Training and Field Services for PADI noted that,”When it comes to childcare, despite the best of intentions, illness and injury can occur from time to time. It is for this reason that it is important for teachers and staff within academic institutions to know how to administer basic first aid and properly perform CPR.”

CPR is an emergency care procedure that utilizes rescue breathing and chest compressions to reverse the effects of cardiac arrest. The process generates reoxygenated blood (which occurs when a person breathes) and helps to push it around the body to vital organs and body parts until emergency services arrive to provide advanced emergency care. Lay responder CPR can help to reduce the chances of brain damage or death in a patient.

Heidi Clarke, Executive Director at Sandals Foundation noted that “having our teachers act as first responders and being knowledgeable on how to properly administer CPR can make the difference in saving a life.”

The Foundation, Clarke notes, aims at training a total of 200 teachers in Jamaica and will be organizing sessions for educators in the parishes of St. James and St. Ann.

During the course, Emergency First Response participants learn their role in getting a patient to professional emergency services, and the ‘cycle of care’; step by step instructions on how to deliver care when a person is unresponsive and not breathing normally.

Environmental Officer for the Sandals Foundation, Bianca Young was one of two instructors who facilitated the training informed that the session, “examined strategies for overcoming unique scenarios we face locally in Jamaica. Though I hope these teachers will never have reason to use their skills, I am confident that with more educators trained in CPR and dispersed across our rural schools, countless lives can be saved.

Two teachers team up for a demonstration while Emergency First Response Instructor, Bianca Young explains the CPR procedure to her class during free CPR and AED Training sessions put on by the Sandals Foundation and PADI at Sandals South Coast.

Michelle Whittingham, Principal of Culloden Early Childhood Institute, which has a current enrollment of over 220 students expressed joy at the newly developed skills. “Saving a life, nothing could be more important. As educators, we do much more than teaching daily. We put on the cap of the doctors too. Choking is common at the early childhood level and as teachers we know how important CPR and AED training is for aiding the needs of our children.”

“The New Hope Primary & Junior High team members who are now emergency responders are empowered to assist not only our students but the community at large,” said New Hope Primary and Junior High Principal, Murdock. “As educators, we are faced, on many occasions, with situations that require the services of first responders. We are happy that now we can confidently respond.”

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