N.J. teachers turn into students, learn CPR
By Jennifer H. Cunningham
Herald News (Passaic County, NJ)
Copyright 2007 North Jersey Media Group Inc.,
All Rights Reserved
WEST PATERSON — Officers from the Passaic County Sheriff's Department weren't at Memorial School Monday to nab a bad guy.
They were there to teach more than 75 district teachers the art of saving a life.
Sheriff's Department officers trained district staff in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and defibrillation in the school gymnasium Monday. Through lectures, a video and one-on-one instruction, the teachers learned basic first aid and were certified following the four-hour course.
Board of Education officials contacted the Sheriff's Department about training district staff after defibrillators were installed at the district's three schools.
"We had defibrillators, but none of the teachers were trained to use them," board member Robert Vargas said. Vargas added that the Sheriff's Department personnel donated their time, so the district was only responsible for the $2,000 cost of materials.
Classes needed for CPR certification cost $45 per person at Passaic County Community College.
The state does not require teachers to be CPR-certified.
In the gym Monday, dozens of teachers kneeled over rubber dummies, tilting the heads back before blowing two short blasts of air into the mouth.
"Look. Listen. Feel," Cpl. Lorrie Grazes told the teachers as they prodded the dummies for signs of life. Grazes, an emergency medical technician for 20 years, and an instructor at Passaic County Community College's Public Safety Academy, also addressed the anxiety many feel before administering CPR.
"God forbid, if something like this happens to you — you're going to be afraid," she said. "Do exactly what we taught you today, and you'll be fine."
Other groups have asked the department for training. It has also trained and certified members of the Wayne Police Athletic League and the Wayne Boys and Girls Club, said Lt. Robert Flaker, EMS commander.
"We'll come out anywhere," he said. "All they have to do is ask."
Some district teachers said they supported the district's decision to get staff-certified.
"I think it's a good thing," said Meghan Neurouter, a teacher for the gifted and talented at Memorial. "Any skills that could help save a life are invaluable."
Although he is already certified, physical education teacher Oxley James said he appreciated the refresher course.