"It's something we hope people never have to use, but it's beneficial to get as many people trained and comfortable with those types of situations as possible," Fire District Training Center Coordinator Eric Hales said.
Two American Heart Association classes are offered through the Fire District: Heart Saver CPR and Heart Saver First Aid.
Both courses are instructor-led, video-based classes.
"It's video instruction as well as hands-on training," he said.
The CPR class teaches how to administer CPR to adults, children and infants. It also teaches how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), a portable tool that checks heart rhythms and can send an electric shock to the heart to restore a normal rhythm if needed.
"When people are in cardiac arrest, their heart goes through a spastic rhythm, called 'ventricular fibrillation,'" Hales said. "When the heart is convulsing, the AED basically stops the heart and helps it go into a normal rhythm again. They are found all over: in airports, malls and schools."
The first aid course teaches students how to treat medical emergencies, such as bleeding, sprains, broken bones and shock, until emergency medical services personnel arrive.
According to the American Heart Association, bystanders administer CPR to less than one-third of sudden cardiac arrest victims. There is a four- to six-minute window, during which someone needs to act to save the victim before it's too late. However, because of the small window, most people don't survive a cardiac arrest.
The Fire District also provides fire extinguisher training.
"There's a small video with a written test, and there's a practical session as well. We have a live fire prop where they can discharge an extinguisher," Hale said.
Six to 12 people attend each class, on average, with the numbers peaking during fall and spring.
"In the fall we're really busy as work places are gearing up for the winter season. In the spring, guides, such as backcountry guides, will take these courses, so it gears up then as well. But in the winter it's slower."
Still, the courses are fairly popular, Hales said. "And the feedback has been very positive."
Both CPR and first aid classes are held at 736 West Bitner Road. The CPR classes are held at 6 p.m. on the first Tuesday of every month. The cost is $40 per person and class size is limited to 24 people.
The first aid classes are held at 6 p.m. on the second Tuesday of every month. The cost is $35 per person, and class size is also limited to 24 people.
To sign up for a CPR or first aid class, contact CPR Coordinator Michelle Anderson at 435-940-2500 ext. 102.
The fire extinguishing class can be arranged by calling the Fire District at 435-940-2500.