Heimlich Instruction and Compressible Dummies at Upcoming Basic Life Support Class

Kayla Desroches/KMXT

What would you do if someone started choking at the table next to you at a restaurant or suffered a heart attack at the gym? Tomorrow, a class through the Kodiak Area Native Association’s Community Health EMS Training Center will teach people how to respond to emergencies like those.

Siene Allen is the wellness program administrator at KANA and says the class is for anyone who is interested.

“We’ll teach the basics of CPR for all ages whether child, adult, or elderly person. It’s also going to teach you how to use an A.E.D device, which is that little square, electronic thing that you see sometimes on the side of a wall in a healthcare building or maybe at the local gym that you can use in case of someone having a heart attack or their heart stops.”

And no matter how many times you’ve seen a Heimlich maneuver on TV, you should probably get professional instruction before trying it. Allen says the class will walk you through the correct procedure.

“It really helps teach you, A, first how to identify if someone really has this issue, because what you don’t want to do is do the Heimlich on someone who doesn’t need it, because it’s pretty aggressive. Sometimes you can break things. So, someone who is trained in teaching this particular method can make sure that the person who might have to use it really understands how and when and the best way to do it.”

Allen says the class takes place between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. and is split into three sections with lunch in the middle. CPR is one portion, choking and airway obstruction is the second part, and the third part is learning how to use the AED device for heart attacks.

“Generally there’s a spoken part or a didactic part where they talk about the technique, talk about identifying the situation where you might need to use that particular technique, and then there’s a demonstration piece where they show how you do it, and then there’s usually a hands on piece, where you get to practice. In this case of CPR, you practice on a dummy, and same thing with the airway, you practice on a dummy as well.”

It’s not the same as a human body, but Allen says the dummy is specific to basic life support.

“They have the heads that tilt back so that you can learn how to properly open the airway before you would give CPR or look for obstructions. They also have flexible chests so that you can actually practice compressions and get a feel for exactly how hard you have to push in order to get those two inches of compression.”

The class is free and will be downtown in the old AC building. You can take part just showing up there at 9 a.m. Friday, but Allen asks that you call as a courtesy if you’re planning on attending. To get in touch with the Community Health Department, dial 486 – 9812.

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