Cobb high schoolers train to respond to emergencies

By Rebecca Gaunt

Members of the Cobb County Fire Department and the Emergency Management Agency showed local high school students how to respond to a variety of emergency situations Monday.

Erin paired up with instructor Jon Frederick, who took his victim role very seriously. (photo by Rebecca Gaunt)

The class, held at the East Cobb Library, was organized by Laura Judge, the education chair for district 2 Cobb Commissioner Jerica Richardson. Judge said that preparing the community for emergency situations is a major focus for the commissioner.

“Of course, Stop the Bleed is helpful for the times that we’re in,” Judge said.

Mia, who wants to be a doctor, practices chest compressions. (photo by Rebecca Gaunt)

Stop the Bleed is a national campaign to train the public on how to deal with a heavy bleeding emergency and provide emergency supply kits.

“You guys have probably had to hear the term active shooter more times than I wish you ever had to hear it,” Sydney Melton of Cobb EMA told the students.

Melton demonstrated how to pack a wound with gauze and apply pressure. The students then had the opportunity to practice with trauma training kits.

Colleen and Sonali apply tourniquets to instructor Todd Sanders’ legs.

They also practiced applying tourniquets to themselves and to partners.

Jon Frederick has been with the fire department for 30 years. He told the class that in the years since the police department has been provided with training and tourniquets, there have been about 200 lives saved. Police officers are often first on the scene and the ones to apply tourniquets to a victim.

Mia practices using a tourniquet on instructor Sydney Melton. (photo by Rebecca Gaunt)

It’s also important to note the time a tourniquet is applied so that information can be shared with emergency responders. Only doctors should remove them, he explained.

Since the class was for awareness, rather than certification, several other lifesaving techniques were discussed over the course of two hours.

child placing tourniquet on arm of his mother
Alex Judge applies a tourniquet to his mom Laura Judge. (photo by Rebecca Gaunt)

Reasons given for attending were varied: babysitting, plans to become a doctor, interested in studying biomedicine. There was also the classic “my mom made me.”

Todd Sanders of the Cobb Fire Department demonstrated choking while Melton performed the Heimlich maneuver. Joseph Smarkusky of Cobb EMA got down on the floor to demonstrate CPR side-by-side with the students.

Dean and Seth practice the proper technique for glove removal.
(photo by Rebecca Gaunt)

When asked if they knew Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees, the classic go-to CPR song at 103 beats per minute to time chest compressions, most of the class had perplexed looks.

Frederick shared a list of more current songs with BPMs in the recommended range from 100 to 120. The CPR shuffle includes Eminem’s “The Real Slim Shady,” Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit, and the children’s earworm “Baby Shark.”

They also covered how to use epipens, automated external defibrillators (AEDs) and the proper use of gloves to avoid blood borne pathogens.

“Without good basic life support, we can’t have advanced life support,” Frederick said.

Rebecca Gaunt earned a degree in journalism from the University of Georgia and a master’s degree in education from Oglethorpe University. After teaching elementary school for several years, she returned to writing. She lives in Marietta with her husband, son, two cats, and a dog. In her spare time, she loves to read, binge Netflix and travel.