Training in first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation and use of a defibrillator has better prepared the staff and faculty at Pink Hill Elementary School to handle medical situations they hope now won’t feel so much like daunting emergencies.
Time during a workday after the school year ended afforded about 40 teachers, administrators and other staff members the opportunity to train with four instructors from the Emergency Medical Technician program at Lenoir Community College.
The impetus for the training, however, was actually a video – a 50-second feature about patriotism by fourth graders at Pink Hill that won a national contest sponsored by WoodmenLife. The school used the $2,500 first prize to buy a defibrillator, a piece of equipment the staff deemed necessary because of the time it can take for first responders to reach the rural school.
“We won the contest and wanted to purchase a defibrillator and get trained on it,” principal Lee Anne Hardy said, “and the staff voted they would also like to have CPR and basic first aid training.”
The instruction included defibrillator use, CPR techniques, managing first aid situations and allergic reactions, spotting symptoms of heart attack and stroke and addressing those situations and dealing with breaks and strains.
“This was a continuation of professional development centered around ensuring we can provide the best care for our students in all situations,” Hardy said. It followed training the staff received earlier in the year on techniques for stopping bleeding and first aid for extreme injuries.
“It makes me feel much more secure because the CPR training and everything we did was geared toward the children as well,” Hardy said. “I feel more secure about managing the needs of children, my coworkers and the visitors who come out to the school on a daily basis.”
In the past, like all schools, Pink Hill has confronted cuts, abrasions, broken bones and even seizures and heart attack symptoms. The staff wasn’t helpless since among the adults were a “handful,” Hardy said, with CRP certification and other training, even one staffer who was a rescue squad volunteer.
Still, help could feel like a long way away. “If we call rescue, at times they’ve had to send someone from as far away as La Grange, if Deep Run or Pink Hill was out of service for some reason,” Hill said.
Staff initiative changed a sense of peril to a feeling of preparedness.
“The staff was really excited about the training,” Hardy said. “I wasn’t sure everybody would embrace it, but it was really good training. We came away with something we all felt could be helpful.”