Emergency responders offer certification course

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The Daily Mississippian

by Hays Burchfield
DM Staff Writer
October 14, 2003

Saving lives is what North Mississippi Emergency Medical Services instructor Melissa Riley intends to teach Ole Miss students and Oxford community members through a six-week-long class in the Turner Center.

Riley, who is also an education graduate student working on her doctorate at Ole Miss, will be team teaching the emergency medical responder course with Susan Wang, a paramedic for Baptist Memorial Hospital North Mississippi.

This will be the third time the class, which is sponsored by North Mississippi EMS in Tupelo, has been taught at Ole Miss.

"This class is more geared to people who want to become county first responders, but anyone is welcome to take the course because it helps in getting many kinds of jobs, and people who take this course will be able to help when they happen upon emergency situations such as car wrecks," Riley said.

First responders are volunteers who receive from the county they live in an emergency kit filled with medical supplies, a radio so they can hear the 911 dispatcher and a blue vest with silver reflective trim.

First responders help people if they are close by and call into the 911 center to let them know the situation and what kind of assistance is needed.

"Ninety percent of the 32 people who have taken this class have become Lafayette County first responders," Riley said.

People who are interested in taking this class should attend an organizational meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday in room 113 of the Turner Center.

Classes will meet every Tuesday and Thursday from 6-10 p.m. in the Turner Center.

Riley said the course would end before the Thanksgiving break.

She said the maximum number of people able to enroll in the class is 30.

She also said the course will be offered again in the spring.

Riley said everyone on Thursday night should bring a check for $90 made out to North Mississippi EMS.

Riley and Wang will then hand out the textbooks and give the first homework assignment that will be due the following Tuesday.

"If someone isn't able to make it to the organizational meeting, then that person should send a friend to be there to pay the $90, pick up the textbook and get the assignment," Riley said.

Riley said the class will train the people how to handle both medical and trauma emergencies, including certification by the American Heart Association in conducting cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and using an automated external defibrillator (AED).

CPR is a procedure to support and maintain breathing and circulation on a person who has stopped breathing and/or whose heart has stopped.

An AED is a machine capable of heart rhythm analysis and will charge and deliver a shock through panels after electronically assessing there is an inadequate supply of blood flowing to the heart muscle.

"There are no prerequisites for this class, and anyone 16 or older can take it," Riley said. "County first responders do have to be at least 18 though."

Riley said a person can get his or her $90 reimbursed after being a first responder for at least a month.

After completing the course, Riley said the person will receive a certificate showing he or she is certified to use CPR and an AED.

Jerit Real

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