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Numerous area groups offer first aid training

March 03, 2003|by ANDREW SCHOTZ

andrews@herald-mail.com

Choking, poisoning, bleeding - the treatment of each is covered in first aid classes.

Kimberly Buchanan, director of health and safety for the American Red Cross's Washington County chapter, couldn't say what percentage of the population knows how to react in each situation.

But even those who know need an occasional refresher.

"It's kind of a 'use it or lose it' kind of thing," she said.

The American Red Cross offers classes in first aid basics, adult CPR and infant and child CPR each month.

People who want to register or check the schedule can call 301-739-0717.

The American Heart Association has classes in CPR and automated external defibrillation. For a list of times and locations, call 1-877-242-4277.

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The American Heart Association uses the National Safety Council's first aid courses as part of its safety instruction. However, the Heart Association expects to develop its own first aid course by the late spring or early summer, said Sharon O'Brien, the association's Maryland and Washington, D.C., regional manager for emergency cardiovascular programs.

CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, is an essential technique to know, Buchanan said.

When a heart stops beating, CPR "circulates oxygenated blood until a defibrillator gets there," she said. "It keeps the body alive."

She said it takes about four to six minutes before oxygenated blood drains out after the heart stops.

After that, "nothing brings you back," Buchanan said.

Cindy Earle, a registered nurse who teaches first aid and CPR to the community and to businesses, said people can call 301-790-8209 to check on classes offered at Washington County Hospital's Pangborn Hall.

The National Safety Council offers classes in Washington County through Hagerstown Community College, said Patricia Raven, director of occupational services for the Safety Council of Maryland, the local chapter.

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