ABERDEEN PROVING GROUND, Md. - More and more APG employees are registering for the monthly CPR/AED classes offered by the Directorate of Emergency Services and the emergency medical responders who conduct the classes could not be happier.

Mike Slayman, assistant chief of EMS, said that in the past two years, four lives have been saved through the use of automated external defibrillators (AED) and cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

"APG has a high number of successes," he said. "The national average is 7 percent and currently we're four for four."

The classes provide students a clear understanding of the step-by-step procedures for CPR and first aid for choking adults, children and infant victims, and walks students through the use of the AED.

During a Sept. 19 class at the post chapel, Slayman's instructions included explaining the stages of cardiac arrest and how it progresses, cautioning for other eventualities such as vomiting; and a question-and-answer period.

Slayman said the most common misunderstanding people have about the AED is that it will restart a stopped heart. The reality is the AED will not shock "flatline" patterns, he said. In that case, only a combination of CPR and cardiac stimulant drugs offer a chance of survival.

He said spreading this knowledge across the APG population helps make the emergency responders jobs easier. It increases survivability for the stricken or injured and reduces the effects of delayed treatment -- brain damage and death.

He said that for every minute that a person in cardiac arrest goes without successful treatment (defibrillation) the chance of survival decreases by 7 to 10 percent each minute.

"This training not only saves lives, it makes scary situations less stressful for those first on the scene," he said. "And though AEDs are designed to be used by laymen, this is better than trying to use one without the training. People may have to make decisions during stressful situations and being familiar with the equipment and the procedures, not only gives you confidence, but helps keep you calm so you can make those decisions when seconds count."

Attendees agreed. Jeremy Gaston, Angelique Scharine, Bruce Amrin, Phuonk Tran and Mary Binseel of ARL attended because they just received an AED in their building and wanted to learn how to use it.

Binseel said she ordered the AEDs through their branch partly because their building is "behind the fence" which could delay responders. She contacted Slayman for model suggestions and when they arrived, his personnel checked and installed them.

"I've taught all these courses but things have changed in 25 years," she said. "It's just smart to have people prepared."

"I think I could handle a medical emergency now," Scharine added. "I definitely feel better prepared."

"When I was in basic training they only taught mouth-to-mouth resuscitation," Gaston said. "I've never had any training on the AED so all of this is new to me."

Tanya Armstead, from the Child Development Center said the certification was required for her job.

"I've had it [the training] before but that was a while ago," she said. "It's definitely changed over the years. I feel like I can handle an emergency situation."

Slayman and other DES emergency responders conduct the classes -- offered twice a day, 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. - the third Wednesday of each month. The remaining classes for this year are at the Edgewood Conference Center, Bldg. E4810 Oct. 17; the APG North (Aberdeen) chapel Nov. 21; and at the Edgewood Conference Center, Bldg. E4810, Dec. 19.

For more information, contact Slayman at 410-306-0566 or e-mail michael.p.slayman.civ@mail.mil.