MASON COUNTY — Many are of the opinion that teenagers today are self-serving, but over a dozen teens gave up their Sunday afternoon this week to learn what might just save someone’s life.
The students completed the first-ever Mason County EMS “Kids Only” CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) Class, led by Elisabeth Lloyd. Lloyd serves as the county EMS community involvement coordinator, and was assisted by fellow instructors Holly Davis and Hannah Parsons.
The teens came from Mason and Putnam counties in West Virginia, as well as Meigs County, Ohio. While they came for various reasons, they all had one goal – that of helping people.
Chase Crouse, 15, of Buffalo, took the class with his 12-year-old sister. He said his reason was to simply help people if they need it.
The mother of one of the students said her daughter is wanting to start the job of babysitting.
“I told her she couldn’t do it unless she took this class,” she added.
The need for such a class became very apparent once Lloyd posted it on the social media site “Facebook.” The class was posted about 11 p.m. one night, and by noon the next day, it was full. She immediately posted a second class, and by evening, it was also full.
Lloyd told her young students during the session that she took the CPR class in 4-H at the age of 13. She said the class was what propelled her into the medical field, a career she has now had for over 20 years.
The instructors taught the components of CPR in a fun, yet educational way to the two groups. Video clips showed the teens the correct way of doing compressions, administering mouth-to-mouth breathing, and other steps. Following the clips, Lloyd asked questions, throwing candy to those with correct answers.
Next the students were led to a practice area, where manikins awaited. With some fun music, the teens were taught to do compressions to the heart with the music’s beat.
Matt Gregg, Director of Homeland Security and Emergency Management for Mason County, said all components of both child and infant CPR were taught. He added the child and adult components are almost identical.
“We felt the need to start the class at a younger age,” Gregg said. “So many children are staying with their older grandparents, or have siblings, who might need CPR at any given time.”
Lloyd said she felt the classes were a huge success and is fully confident the kids all walked away ready to initiate CPR if the need arose.
Lloyd added she has been overwhelmed with requests for more classes. She said there will be additional “kids only” classes, as well as classes for adults, and the best way to learn of them is to follow the Facebook page “Mason County EMS.”
Lloyd said the EMS has a heart for the community and is working hard to provide outreach events. By showing residents that EMS workers are their neighbors, fellow 4-H parents, sports parents, etc., the community will feel more comfortable if their help is ever needed, she added.
The next community event planned is a series of “Special Needs Days,” set for April 25-27.
On April 25 and 26, Mason County Schools will bus special needs students to the 911 center, where they will learn and interact with first responders in a low sensory environment. Lloyd said members of the EMS will be on site, as well as a police officer with his dog, and a fireman who will dress in full gear.
The goal, Lloyd said, is for the children to not be afraid of emergency services personnel and to show they are there to help them. The children will be able to explore a fire engine, ambulance, and more.
On April 27, the 911 center will be open to anyone with special needs, including adults, and their families. The event will be held from 1-4 p.m.
Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.