Four-hour investment yields priceless return
August 19, 2010
Last month, Tina De la Roche, forensic and biological DNA unit supervisor for the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory on Fort Gillem, was having dinner at a seafood restaurant in Atlanta with her family, including 10-month-old daughter, Amee.
One of Amee's favorite snacks is a cheese puff-like snack designed for babies, Roche said.
The snacks are highly dissolvable; however, while talking with her father, Ray, Roche noticed her daughter's face was turning bright red.
Roche said she knew immediately something was wrong. Normally, Amee would leave a mess behind, but this time, there were no crumbs around. Additionally, Roche had seen Amee turn red in the face like that once before.
"She had a carrot stuck in her throat (back then), but coughed it up," Roche said.
Without hesitation, Roche grabbed Amee, turned her over and began to perform back blows to remove the obstruction from her airway - a skill she learned at the U.S. Army Garrison Directorate of Emergency Services Fire and Emergency Services free cardiopulmonary resuscitation class.
"When you have a new baby in the house, you need to know what to do," Roche said. "You never know when you might need it."
A former lifeguard, Roche said she knew of the importance of learning CPR, and upon learning of the course from the criminal investigation laboraty's safety coordinator, decided it would be a good class to attend.
The four hours she spent in the course are responsible for saving her daughter's life, said Roche.
Edward Hudson, class instructor, said it was the first time he received feedback that what he taught had been used to save a life.
"It really touched my heart," said Hudson, a firefighter and paramedic with the Fire and Emergency Services at Fort McPherson.
Hudson said he also feels extremely proud that he is able to teach these life-saving skills at no cost due to a partnership with the Emergency Response Training and Support Services, an American Heart Association approved national training organization.
The class, which teaches infant, children and adult CPR, as well as automated external defibrillator usage, is certified by the American Heart Association and grants certification for two years, Hudson said.
Attendees also learn about what to expect if 911 is called and the different functions of emergency medical service personnel.
"It's a very relaxed, interactive environment," Roche said. "It is great on all aspects and very accommodating."
Roche and Hudson encourage people to take advantage of the service.
"There have been several people on post who brought their whole Families," Hudson said. "I encourage that wholeheartedly. I wish provide I could provide it to everyone."
The class is open to all DoD Civilian employees, military members, retirees and their immediate Family members, Hudson said.
Children ages 11 and older can attend the class. Civilian contractors, however, are not eligible to attend.
Besides teaching important skills, Hudson said having kids involved means they will be more likely to live a healthy lifestyle, as they see how unhealthy life choices can cause heart disease.
Hudson said CPR training makes people more willing to help in other situations, even those not related to performing CPR.
"Anyone who is not trained tends to shy away from helping in a problem," Hudson said. "The training makes people feel more secure in helping people."
Training is offered at the Fort Gillem Fire Station, Bldg. 103, on select Saturdays from 9 a.m. until1 p.m.
This year, training will be held on Aug 28, Sept. 25, Oct. 23, Nov. 20 and Dec. 18. Class size is limited to 12 people and requires pre-registration by phone at 464-4387 or 464-0592.