Each person compressed the chest of the victim, gave deep rescue breaths and repeated the process until the victim regained respirations and a pulse.
At least that was the idea in a Red Cross training class for Columbia County Sheriff's Office personnel recently at Abilene Baptist Church's Christian Life Center. The "victim" was a plastic torso.
Class participants, including sheriff's deputies, 911 staff and jail personnel learned life-saving techniques, such as adult, infant and child CPR and the use of automatic external defibrillators, said Sandra Leathers, health and safety director for Red Cross' Augusta chapter.
"(Many times) they are the first on the scene and knowing how to perform CPR is a proven life-saving procedure," Leathers said. "This is just one more tool in their bag of tools they need when performing out there for Columbia County residents."
Trainers from the county's Water and Sewerage, Roads and Bridges and Risk Management departments helped Red Cross instructor Bob Bracy teach the last of six weekly classes. In all, 234 sheriff's office personnel attended the seminars.
The 50-member classes watched videos of the life-saving techniques, learned how to do each maneuver and then practiced on their own plastic mannequins under the watchful eyes of instructors.
The six-hour course taught employees what to do from the time they enter a scene with an injured or otherwise incapacitated victim to the point when paramedics arrive to take over.
Most of the road deputies in the course said they have never been in an on-the-job situation when they needed to perform CPR to save a life.
But a little more training doesn't hurt, said Columbia County Sheriff Clay Whittle.
He requires all his employees to attend the course at least once. It used to be a requirement in the police academy, but Whittle said he is unsure if it still is.
Whittle, who has been through similar training several times, said there was no substitute for practical experience, especially for 911 dispatchers who would need to talk someone through the process over the phone.
The training is something that can be useful even when employees are not at work, Whittle said.
"The basic premise is to save a life," he said. "That is the bottom line. The reality is no matter where they are, they should know first aid and they should know CPR. You never know whose life it might be. It might be one of your own loved ones."
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