Security professionals encourage residents to receive first aid training

Birmingham Fire Department EMS coordinator Robert Abraham presents an Automated External Defibrillator, or AED, which is used to resuscitate people with sudden cardiac arrest. Members of the public can take classes in the department to teach them first aid techniques, including how to perform CPR and the Heimlich maneuver, and the use of an AED.


BIRMINGHAM / FARMINGTON – When Alex Calderone, a reserve police officer who volunteers at special events in Birmingham, attended a block party on August 22, he encountered a choking young girl. He recognized the signs and executed the Heimlich maneuver, and in the process, he saved his life.

“This knowledge he had was part of his training (from the Birmingham Fire Department),” said Paul Wells, the Birmingham Fire Chief. “And that’s the same training available to members of the public who sign up for our free courses.

Lt. Jim Etzin, a member of the Farmington Hills Fire Department, discussed the value of residents having emergency preparedness training.

“We think this is invaluable because here in our community, whether it is the Farmington Hills Fire and Police Department or the Farmington Department of Public Safety, we are fortunate to have times exceptional response, ”said Etzin, who is a training officer. “(But) even on our best day, it will take a few moments, if not a few minutes, to realize the urgency. In those moments or minutes, it is the people already present that can often make the difference between life and death, especially when it comes to urgent medical situations, such as someone with severe bleeding, a person in respiratory arrest where they are no longer breathing, but they still have a pulse, or worst case, that is, cardiac arrest where not only is there no breathing, but there is no There is also no pulse.

Etzin shared some details on the type of training he would like residents to have.

“We want people to know how to recognize an emergency, when to call 911 and what action they can take until emergency responders arrive,” he said. “Ideally, we would like every member of our community to take CPR and first aid training, and that first aid training includes how to deal with life-threatening bleeding. “

Members of the Farmington Hills community wishing to receive training can email Department Technician Sara West at [email protected]

Local police, fire departments and hospitals can be good sources for learning about emergency preparedness training, according to Etzin.

He communicated a message on the importance of resident training.

“Until we get there, this incident is up to the people who are out there, and whatever they can do to close that gap and first and foremost reassure that person that help is on the way and provide any help. that you’re comfortable providing, ”Etzin said. “Give emergency responders a lot more work when we get there, so that we can take it over in and of itself and do the things our people are trained to do, and then ultimately pass that baton or that patient to the hospital. They are the links in the chain of survival, and members of our community are arguably the most critical link in that chain because they will be the ones who recognize that an emergency is happening; they will be the ones calling 911 to notify emergency responders, and in these crisis situations, they will hopefully be able to step in and provide assistance until our personnel arrive.

The Birmingham Fire Department offers a free course titled ‘CPR for Family and Friends’ on the second Wednesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. at Fire Station # 1, located at 572 S. Adams Road. The class lasts approximately two hours and teaches participants how to perform CPR and relieve choking. Participants learn the signs of heart attack, cardiac arrest, stroke and choking in adults, as well as the signs of choking in infants and children, and the prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. .

“To anyone who might feel uncomfortable learning CPR, I would tell them it’s not word-of-mouth when they teach it anymore. Rather, it’s chest compressions, called “proximity CPR,” ”Wells said. “And the chest compressions are very effective because the elasticity of the compressions to the heart also opens the lungs, so they can start to receive more air.

“Choking can also lead to cardiac arrests – choking being the number one reason small children have cardiac arrest – so if you know how to perform the Heimlich maneuver to open an airway and how to perform CPR, that can be very important in the latter. situations too, ”he said. “It’s also helpful to know the signs that help is needed, such as when a person coughs, a throat has a throat, and their color changes. Learning the signs and what to do can save lives.

The Birmingham Fire Department also offers a paid course called the ‘Heartsaver CPR Course’ which consists of three courses held on the fourth Saturday in January, April, July and October, starting at 8 a.m. and lasting four to five. time. The course fee is $ 45.

In addition to teaching participants about CPR and the relief of airway obstruction by a foreign body, the courses also provide training on the use of an automated external defibrillator, or AED, a portable electronic device that can revive someone from sudden cardiac arrest.

At the end of the course, participants receive an American Heart Association CPR card with an expiration date of two years.

“If you’re in cardiac arrest, CPR by itself won’t bring you back, but it compresses the heart, which is a pump, and pushes blood to your vital organs, which can improve your chances of recovering when you can. get the AEDs or manual defibrillators out there on time, ”Wells said.

To register for one of the courses or for more information call the Birmingham Fire Department at (248) 530-1906.

First aid courses are also available from the American Red Cross.

“Accidents do happen, which is why it is essential to be prepared – to help yourself, your family members or your neighbors,” said by email Meghan Lehman, regional director of communications for the American Red Cross in the Michigan area. “The Red Cross encourages everyone to learn first aid, CPR and use an AED, so they have the knowledge and confidence to act in an emergency.

Classes are offered in person and online. Registration is at

“We empower people to learn skills and use them to save lives in emergencies. The Red Cross has been creating courses and training people in first aid for over 100 years, ”said Lehman.

She noted that on average, more than 4.5 million people per year receive training from the Red Cross in first aid, water safety and other skills that help save lives, and that by 2020, her organization has honored over 500 people for their efforts to save or support a life. Lehman said if you know someone who has helped save or maintain a life, you can nominate them for the Red Cross National Lifesaving Award at

Lehman said accidents and emergencies can happen to anyone, anytime, so everyone is encouraged to learn first aid, CPR and how to use an AED.

“Every second counts, so people need to know what to do until medical help arrives,” she said.

To this end, the Red Cross offers a variety of online, in-class and blended courses with both online content and in-person professional training. Course participants learn how to perform CPR, how to help a choking person, how to control bleeding, how to treat someone who has had a heart attack, and more. On-site training is also available for groups, and an organization may have someone become a certified instructor to train their colleagues.

Lehman also said the Red Cross offers courses tailored to current events, such as the COVID-19 pandemic and the national opioid crisis. There are two online courses focused on return to work and psychological first aid during COVID-19. There is also “First Aid for Opioid Overdose” – an online course to teach people how to respond to a known or suspected opioid overdose – and the Red Cross Resuscitation Suite, which offers courses in basic care. , advanced care and advanced life in pediatrics. Support to help healthcare, EMS and other public safety professionals meet certification and licensing requirements.

The Red Cross even offers an online course to administer first aid to cats and dogs, with an associated smartphone app. And speaking of apps, the Red Cross also has a general first aid app for instant access to expert advice on what to do in various emergency situations. First aid kits and emergency supplies are also available at the Red Cross online store.

The Red Cross responds to an average of 60,000 disasters each year, and in Michigan alone, the Red Cross responds to an average of more than 1,500 house fires each year. The Red Cross is also always in need of blood donation – those who wish to donate can visit

“We have a long history of empowering people to save lives,” said Lehman, “and we continue to address today’s pressing needs with new programs and resources. “


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