Local News

June 22, 2014

JUST IN CASE: Juvenile Court staff completes CPR training

With so much traffic every day through the Whitfield County Juvenile Court office at the courthouse, visitors can rest a little easier knowing the staff recently completed CPR/First Aid/AED (automated external defibrillator) training through the American Heart Association.

“We have kids, we have teens, we have their parents here — we do have a lot of public in and out of our office,” said Robbie Walka, court administrator. “It’s pretty serious business when you’re dealing with people’s kids, so everything we do is stressful. We haven’t ever had to do CPR or use the automatic defibrillator, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t have to at some point. Maybe now we won’t run screaming because we’ll know how to do the right thing.”

Juvenile Court Judge Connie Blaylock suggested the training for her staff, and 11 members wound up being certified in infant/child/adult CPR, first aid and AED after three hours of training at their office recently led by Jeremy Phillips, a Dalton Fire Department firefighter, on behalf of the American Heart Association.

Completing the training were Walka, Memorie Locke, Allison Lance, Miryam Ramirez, Joanna Mercedes, Julie Galloway, Amanda Stewart-Smith, Sean Kean, Mariela Velazquez, Jennifer Richardson and Brandi Gilbert.

“I had been through the infant and child training before, but it had been a long time ago,” Walka said, “but I’ll tell you the thing that really made me feel a lot better was the defibrillator training.”

The AED units are used to shock victims to make their hearts start beating again.

“We have the units in our hallway and vestibule,” Walka said. “We haven’t ever had to use them, but I’m glad Jeremy ran through that several times and everybody got to look at an AED and learned how to apply the pads for the different body sizes. The machines are really user-friendly, but we still feel a lot more comfortable knowing that if we ever have to go pull that defibrillator off the wall and give somebody a shock, we’ll be familiar with the machine.”

Walka said one of the important first aid items the staff learned about was the correct use of EpiPens, which are used to inject epinephrine for the emergency treatment of life-threatening allergic reactions (anaphylaxis) caused by allergens, exercise or unknown triggers.

“Jeremy showed us one of the main problems with using EpiPens,” Walka said. “He said sometimes people will turn the pen the wrong way, and when they think they’re stabbing the victim, they’re actually stabbing themselves so when the EMTs get to the scene, they actually have two patients now. You have to be careful because the pens are a one-shot deal, so if you shoot yourself by mistake, you’ve pretty much used all the dose and don’t have any for the actual victim. I know people carry those pens around with them, but I had never seen one and had never thought about how to use it since I don’t have a bee allergy myself.”

While the staff hopes never to have to use the recent training, they all feel better knowing they could help if the need ever arose, Walka said.

An emergency “could happen, it really could,” she said. “I guess it’s not a matter of if, it’s when.”

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