Region 8 police force looks to get "refresher course" on CPR - KAIT-Jonesboro, AR-News, weather, sports

Region 8 police force looks to get "refresher course" on CPR

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By Josh Harvison - bio | email

TRUMANN, AR (KAIT) – Trumann Police Chief Tony Rusher said every officer, jailer and dispatcher employed by the law enforcement agency will go through a training session for CPR. Officers are taught CPR when they go through the police academy, but they lose the certification after two years, according to Rusher. Rusher said his decision to offer "refresher" courses came after Jonathan Schmidt saved a one-year old baby's life by administering CPR on May 12.

"Every officer, when you go through the academy you're certified in CPR, which is good for two years and actually without recertifying it expires in two years," said Rusher. "I'm looking at working with the Trumann ambulance base right now. They have an instructor who can teach it and make us certified or make our certification up."

Rusher said he was able to obtain generous donations from St. Bernard's after a local resident heard about Schmidt's selfless act.

"Jane Dunn. She's a local citizen here in Trumann. she's always supported the police departments needs and she knew that we had a need for those and based on that, she took it upon her own and she contacted Mr. Owens, who she knew at St. Bernard's, and thanks to his generosity, he donated 19 masks which enables me to put one per unit so every officer, no matter the vehicles they're in, they'll have access to it and one here at the jail for the jailer," said Rusher.

Rusher said Schmidt was able to get the child breathing after several compressions. Once the child coughed up fluid, but didn't begin breathing. After a few more compressions, the child coughed up more fluid and began gasping for air.

"I think it's only right if you're going to ask the officers to do this that you provide them with as much protective equipment as possible," said Rusher. "If you're trained in something, you're training will kick in. it'll take away that hesitation on what to do or whatever, you're trained in it, you're confident. You're going to react."

Shawn Perrin, Education Director at Medic One, told Region 8 News he offers CPR and AED training courses to multiple civic organizations and area businesses.

"Last week was national CPR and AED awareness week and throughout the United States the American Heart Association trained over 140,000 people that week," said Perrin. "When people suffer from sudden cardiac arrest, it's not a heart attack, it's an electrical disturbance in the heart and the only way to fix that is with early defibrillation to shock the heart into beating on its own."

"You can't always depend that EMS agencies are going to be able to come there and save the day. It's those first response agencies. It's those people, bystanders, family members, who initiates the CPR that's saving people's lives," said Perrin. "By learning early CPR, you're doubling the chances of survival for a victim of sudden cardiac arrest and with AED programs; you're doubling those chances again."

Perrin said he trains approximately 3,000 people every year on how to properly administer CPR.

"A few hours and we can get you trained and a lot of people think that you know they're going to stumble across someone that's needing this, but in most cases the person you're stumbling across who is needing CPR or AED use is going to be a family member," said Perrin. "Some people feel there might be some liability involved, but that's not truly the case if you're acting in good faith, the Good Samaritan Act protects you."

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