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Families learn CPR, more
Emergency training event well-attended
Alayna Bickle, a sixth-grader at Great Bend Middle School, helps sponsors pack up a CPR training dummy at the end of a program Thursday evening at the school. More than 100 people attended training on hands-only CPR and other basic life-saving measures. - photo by photos by Susan Thacker/Great Bend Tribune

When students and families of Great Bend Middle School and Great Bend High School were invited to sign up for a free evening of CPR and first aid training, it didn’t take long to fill every available seat. Approximately 100 people, along with many volunteers, attended the two-and-a-half-hour Emergency Training last Thursday at the middle school. 

GBHS Family Engagement Coordinator Chuy Loera and GBMS Family Engagement Coordinator Saylem Ryff teamed up to create the event.

Loera said an event last October helped inspire them to offer the training. That was when Eric Keller was shopping at the Great Bend Walmart and noticed a young child in distress. He stepped in and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation, saving the toddler’s life.

“Saylem mentioned, ‘How many community members would know what to do?’” Loera said. That was long before the Buffalo Bills player Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field during a Monday night football game on Jan. 2 and required CPR, Loera noted. Situations such as these bring home the message: you never know when emergency aid will be needed 

“As our students go out in the community, for sports, babysitting, they’re going to encounter emergency situations,” Ryff said. The training was a way of exposing students to the reality of situations they may face in their lives and giving them some idea of how to respond in a helpful way.

Youths are taught to call 911 in an emergency but it takes time for emergency responders to arrive, she said.

While the hands-on CPR training offered Thursday night isn’t enough for full CPR certification, it was a good foundation. Sports Medicine instructor Ryan Zink at GBHS can help students if they want to get more training to become fully certified.

“Our intent for this evening was to open that door to exposure and basic knowledge,” Loera said.

Once the family engagement coordinators started putting together the event, community organizations were excited about getting involved, Ryff said. The event started with a meal in the commons area and then moved to the gym, where groups of 12-14 people visited several stations for 15 minutes each:

• The CPR & Choking Station was two units, for a total of 30 minutes. This was overseen by Ryan Zink at GBHS and Jenny Ladd at Barton Community College, with help from Barton’s EMS education department and members of the Great Bend Fire Department.

• The Allergic Reactions and Epi-Pen station was overseen by Kimberly Clark from the University of Kansas Health System - Great Bend Campus.

• The Poison Control & Diabetic station was also handled by KU Med.

• The Seizures station was also handled by KU Med.

• Mental Health was presented by Carrie Brown from Heart of Kansas.

• Overdose and Alcohol Poisoning information was presented by the Barton County Health Department.

• A presentation on Heart Attack & Stroke was presented by KU Med.

Around 40 families participated with about 59% having a middle school student, 29% having a high school student and 11% with a student in both grade levels.