The city of King just got a little bit safer.
By Aug. 6, almost every city employee, from city manager to the water meter reader, will be trained and certified in administering CPR to adults, infants and children.
“With our employees being in contact with folks on a daily basis we just felt like it would be the smart thing to do,” said City Manager Homer Dearmin. “I have always heard of police and fire folks getting certified, but I think it is pretty different for us to do it as a whole city.”
Dearmin said the idea was partially spurred by the loss of a city employee who died of a massive heart attack in the spring.
“That was kind of a wake up call for us,” said Dearmin. “He was at home when it happened, but he had been at work all day. It could have happened five hours earlier on the job and if it had maybe we would have been prepared to deal with it. This is something that is good for all of us to have some knowledge of because something could happen at any second.”
He used the King Senior Center as an example of how knowing how to administer CPR could save lives.
“You have two employees down there and 20 to 30 people who use it on a daily basis,” said Dearmin. “In any given week, you have 150 contacts and the potential for something to happen is great.”
Dearmin said employees had all also received training to use AED defibrillators which are stocked in many city buildings.
“Not everyone knew how to use them, so we included an AED portion in the certification so everyone would know how to use them if the need ever came up,” said Homer, noting that King Fire Chief Steven Roberson provided training over three session in June. “Everybody was pretty excited and felt like it was something different. We made it a lunch and learn thing so we included a meal and did the training in the afternoons.
“Everybody was surprised by what they did not know,” he added. “Things change with CPR every so often and now it is more focused on the chest thrust instead of the rescue breathing. We realized how exhausting that can be. Chief Roberson had us do a two minute drill with chest thrusts. Two minutes does not sound like a long time, but when you are trying to do CPR appropriately and you are letting the chest come back up and not doing the thrusts too quickly that will wear you out pretty quickly.”
Dearmin said he hoped the city employees would never have to use the training, but noted that if they did it could save a life.
“The quicker you can get started on CPR the better chance you have of saving their life,” he explained. “Now we have nearly 70 folks working for the city who throughout their daily lives will be able to do that in the event that something happens. That extra couple of minutes can be the difference between life and death.”
He said if any one in the community would like to learn about getting CPR certification they can contact Roberson to find out more information about classes in the area.
He also noted that the city was not going to stop with CPR training for its employees.
“In the winter, we will be doing a similar program with first aid training,” he said. “We want to get American Red Cross first aid certifications for all of our employees as well. It is just a good idea to have everybody trained and ready to go if something were to happen.”
Nicholas Elmes may be reached at 336-591-8191 or on Twitter @NicholasElmes.