ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. -- A combination of 16 U.S. Army Sustainment Command Soldiers and civilians learned some potentially lifesaving skills at the Fire Department here, Feb. 25.

The training, developed by the American Heart Association, taught students how to perform CPR on both infants and adults. It also included operating an automatic external defibrillator, or AED, and how to save both infants and adults from choking.

RIA firefighters and paramedics Brian "Chopper" Hansen and Colin Reid co-instructed the class. Hansen said the skills they teach are simple but important.

"What you guys are doing is a great thing," Hansen said. "Even just (learning) compressions, you are giving that patient a good shot at surviving."

"What I learned in the class included valuable lifesaving skills for heart attack victims and choking victims," said Penny Kroul, a supervisor in the ASC Logistics Office. "I have no past experiences with CPR and hope to have no future experiences, but feel better knowing that I can help someone if I am put in that position."

Steve Briscoe, a logistical management specialist in the Field Support Office, has more experience with CPR and first aid education. He belongs to two motorcycle riding groups, and both require him to maintain certifications in first aid and CPR/AED.

"More times than not, if a rider goes down, the first person on the scene is another rider," Briscoe said. "Our goal is to train as many riders as we can with first aid, CPR/AED and accident scene management training."

Briscoe was acquiring re-certification.

In 2011, Briscoe came across a motorcyclist who crashed when his rear tire blew out near the Black Hills in South Dakota. There were other riders on the scene, but they didn't know how to help the victim.

"The downed rider was not breathing and had sustained broken bones in the lower extremities," said Briscoe.

He administered CPR and rescue breathing for an estimated 20 minutes before emergency medical service personnel showed up. Unfortunately, the rider succumbed to his injuries due to what the EMS crews believed to be internal bleeding.

But, Briscoe's mettle was tested and he was able to respond in a time of emergency.

The AEDs used in the class are the same machines used in buildings on the Arsenal and many of the local hospitals. This was by design in order to make the handover of patients between Arsenal first responders and Quad Cities hospitals easier.

Buildings 350 and 390 both have AEDs located near the elevators on every level. Building 350 also has an AED in the cafeteria on the sixth floor.