TRAINING FOR LIFE: Firms focus on preparation for emergencies

Here’s some heartening news: More Central Pennsylvania businesses than ever offer CPR training to their employees.

Here’s some heartening news: More Central Pennsylvania businesses than ever offer CPR training to their employees.

That was the word from representatives of two midstate organizations that provide the courses.

The number of area firms that have offered cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) classes through the York County Chapter of the American Red Cross has heightened visibly since 9/11, said Victoria A. Connor, the chapter’s director of communications and public support. The terrorist attacks of more than five years ago have led many employers to prepare better for emergencies.

Kathy A. Poffenberger, administrative assistant at West Shore Emergency Medical Services, cited a different cause of the

CPR-training boom. Employers have grown more aware of CPR because automated external defibrillators (AEDs) have proliferated in malls and airports, she said. An AED is a machine that stops fibrillation — rapid, uncoordinated twitching — of the heart and restores normal heartbeat by giving an electric shock. West Shore EMS is part of East Pennsboro Township-based Holy Spirit Health System, which will offer a free CPR class Feb. 10.

The Red Cross’ York County chapter taught CPR to at least three companies in the county — Kinsley Construction Inc., York Wallcoverings and Starbucks Corp. — that used it in the past six years to save people’s lives, Connor said.

The chapter also runs a program called Safety Net with local businesses that drive fleets of vehicles throughout York County. The Red Cross teaches the drivers CPR, first-aid and emergency-response techniques to save lives. The drivers likely will be at accident scenes, Connor said. Participants have included Susquehanna Communications, Shipley Energy and Wagman Construction Inc.

L.S. Lee Inc. sends all of its employees to the chapter for CPR training, said Jim Baker, the company’s superintendent. The West York-based guide-rail and sign installer sent 44 field workers and several office employees Jan. 15. Half of the field workers received updates, and the other half went for the first time. The company has never had to use CPR.

“Our company is very safety oriented. We feel everyone should be as knowledgeable as possible … The owners of our company don’t hold back (money for safety training),” Baker said.

Glatfelter Insurance Group has more than a dozen CPR-certified employees, said Randy Hess, the company’s technical director of risk-control services. The Red Cross trains employees of the York Township-based insurance broker. The firm informs its 460 workers of its CPR knowledge.

The business also has three AEDs.

Giant Food Stores does little CPR training. Of the grocery chain’s 143 stores, 18 have child play areas named Tree Houses, said Tracy Pawelski, the company’s director of public relations. Middlesex Township-based Giant provides CPR instruction for its Tree House employees but not for any other workers. The business doesn’t plan to expand that training. The company mainly relies on emergency responders.

Generally speaking, workers in each department and on each shift need CPR training, said Susanne Lyden, the health and safety client manager for the Red Cross’ York County chapter. The U.S. population is aging and becoming more susceptible to heart disease.

Businesses need AED training, too, Lyden said. And AED- and CPR-certified employees need backups to cover when they’re out, she said.

A lot of companies prefer to have their employees be their trainers, so they can train at their own schedules, Lyden said. That’s why the chapter offers “train-the-trainer” sessions.

  • CPR defined

    CPR stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation, an emergency procedure of external cardiac massage and artificial respiration. CPR is the first treatment for a person who has collapsed, has no pulse and has stopped breathing. CPR tries to restore circulation of blood to prevent death or brain damage due to lack of oxygen.

    For CPR facts and statistics, see “CPR facts and stats,” page 4.

    Source: TheFreeDictionary.com

    Bear-ly breathing

    West Shore Emergency Medical Services and Holy Spirit Health System are encouraging child-care workers to handle bears to save children’s lives. Teddy bears that are CPR practice aids, that is.

    The CPR Teddy kit for child-care centers includes an electronic teddy; 10 breathing masks/airbags that go over its nose and inside its chest, respectively; a training DVD that covers cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), choking rescue and first aid for infants and children; a practice chart; and 250 stickers that remind child-care workers to practice on the teddy monthly. The kit costs $99.

    Squeeze the teddy’s paw, and a voice reviews how to rescue a person who is choking and how to perform CPR. A CPR practice follows. When prompted, blow on the bear’s mask, and watch the bear’s chest rise. The teddy beeps to pace its chest compressions. A voice says, “Press 1, 2, 3 … 30. Give breath,” for five cycles, or about two minutes. Press the red heart on the bear’s chest, and a green light in the bear’s bowtie indicates if you press right, while a red light means you pressed too hard. After about two minutes of practice, the voice says to call 911 and continue CPR.

    West Shore EMS, an affiliate of East Pennsboro Township-based Holy Spirit, sells a similar CPR Teddy kit for parents and babysitters. That product costs $59.95.

    Both kits meet the guidelines for CPR and first aid that the American Heart Association and the American Red Cross released in November 2005. Between then and Jan. 5, West Shore EMS had sold a half-dozen kits.

    “It’s a comfort to parents in case an emergency arises. Children are constantly putting things in their mouths,” said Kathy A. Poffenberger, administrative assistant at West Shore EMS. The group provides pre-hospital services to six Central Pennsylvania counties, including Cumberland, Dauphin and York.

    Trainikins Inc. of Virginia makes the kits. Few people remember how to do CPR shortly after taking classes, according to the company’s Web site. The bears should supplement skills already acquired.

    To order a teddy, call West Shore EMS at 972-4732.

    CPR-training opportunities

    The American Red Cross offers CPR training to employers. The York County Chapter of the Red Cross’ most popular such class is Standard First Aid with CPR/AED — Adult, said Susanne Lyden, the chapter’s health and safety client manager.

    The course teaches businesspeople to recognize and care for life-threatening respiratory or cardiac emergencies, injuries or sudden illnesses in adults until medical professionals arrive. The training includes practice, real-life scenarios and materials that companies keep for refreshers. The six-and-a-half-hour class meets the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s guidelines for first-aid training.

    The York County chapter teaches the course at its York headquarters and at workplaces countywide. The cost is $65 per employee. For more details or to enroll, call 845-2751.

    If you work elsewhere in Central Pennsylvania and want CPR training, visit www.redcross.org/where/where.html to find your local chapter.

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