Nearly a dozen Fire Science students in the La Porte County Career and Technical Education program will be certified in CPR, thanks to instruction by local firefighters.

Three firefighters from the Michigan City Fire Department spent Tuesday morning at the A.K. Smith Career Center teaching cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to students who are learning the basics of firefighting. Training included proper chest compression techniques, how to use AEDs (automated external defibrillators) and bag-mask devices, as well as the difference between performing these measures on adults, children, and infants.

“This is a skill that is required for any career in the health field, including a career as an EMT,” said Nick Pabon, MCFD Public Information Officer, adding that many firefighters are also Emergency Medical Technicians.

While training the students, the firefighters involved are also earning their own education credits, as this training is a required step to becoming a Certified CPR Trainer.

Firefighters Sean Baker, Joshua Allen, and Brock Kohler all visited the A.K. Smith classroom to provide CPR training as they each earn their own certifications as CPR Instructors. In return for offering this opportunity to train their staff, MCFD covered the typical per-student cost of this CPR training.

The CPR Instructor certification is offered through a program at Northwest Health Hospital in La Porte. Brian Gray, a full-time firefighter with the City of La Porte, is a certified CPR Instructor who oversaw the training session at A.K. Smith. “The more people who are CPR certified in our community, the better,” said Gray. “They can get the life-saving process started before first responders get there.”

Rob Schaffer, Fire Science Instructor at A.K. Smith and former MCFD firefighter, agreed, telling his class that the benefit of learning how to use an AED goes beyond responding to emergencies as a firefighter or EMT. “You see AEDs everywhere – at grocery stores, schools, you can carry them in your car. And once you’re certified to use one, you could possibly save a life.”