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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Councillor Verbeek offers CPR course to community


by Sylene Argent, Local Journalism Initiative

Eleven additional local residents now have the tools to assist someone who may be choking, experiencing a stroke or heart attack, or may need CPR, thanks to a course Essex Councillor Kim Verbeek sponsored for the community on Saturday at the McGregor Community Centre.

Knowing paramedics are still struggling with offload delays at local hospitals – which is a multifaceted issue that local decision-makers and EMS are trying to work out – Verbeek hosted the free CPR course, so residents can assist someone in an emergency until professional help can arrive.

Town of Essex staff members led the course, whom Verbeek said did an excellent job passing along those potentially lifesaving techniques and procedures.

This is the second CPR class that has been offered for free in the municipality, as Mayor Sherry Bondy hosted a similar event in Essex Center in the recent past, for the same reasons.

The idea is that with ambulances sometimes being held up with offload delays – sometimes leading to Code Red, where there are two or less ambulances available, or Code Black, where there are no ambulances available, instances – it was thought that arming local residents with the knowledge on how to assist someone in an emergency was a great strategy.

Both Verbeek and Bondy paid for the course to be offered to community members through their Council Contingency Funds, which is provided to each Councillor to support local initiatives each year.

Verbeek was thrilled to sponsor the event. She noted many of the attendees were grateful it was offered for free, which was certainly an added bonus.

The Town of Essex staff members taught the participants the proper procedure and how to assist someone if they were choking, how to properly use a defibrillator, administer CPR, and how to properly call 911.

At the end of the course, the participants were presented a Lifesaving Society Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation “A.”

Those who participated in the class ranged in age, including some teenagers. Verbeek said it was important for all participants, including the youth, to know these types of emergency response techniques, so that they would have the tools to assist someone in an emergency until professional help could arrive.

She heard from those who took the class a desire to learn first aid as well, and that is something she may think about providing next year, depending on the demand for hosting such a course.

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