WESTPORT, Conn. From learning what to do if your infant, child or spouse collapses, to how to avoid a car accident, the Westport Volunteer Emergency Medical Service offers a variety of life-saving courses for the public.
Classes, taught by certified instructors, include the American Heart Association Heartsaver CPR/AED course. Free for Westport residents and town employees, this certified course covers adult, child and infant CPR, said Jay Paretzky, Westport Volunteer EMS training coordinator and lead instructor.
The course also covers obstructed airway management and how to use an automated external defibrillator, AED for short.
Its a very hands-on class, Paretzky said, noting that students actually practice CPR on infant, child and adult mannequins, and practice using an AED on special mannequins.
The course, he said, takes between two and three hours, and theres no written exam.
Another free course offered to the public is the new Hands-only CPR course. Although not a certified program, this 45-minute class covers how to perform chest compressions on an adult, choking management and how to use an AED.
Its an introductory class, Paretzky said. People often then want to learn infant and child CPR so they move on to one of our certified classes.
The Hands-only CPR class can be taught outside the Westport EMS headquarters, Paretzky added. For more information, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
For people looking for more advanced training, Westport EMS offers the American Heart Association Healthcare Provider CPR course. This course covers all the same topics in the Heartsaver class. However, Paretzky said this three to four hour training program is geared toward police officers, firefighters, emergency medical service personnel, nurses and others, like lifeguards, who work in an environment that may require rescue CPR.
This course includes a written exam and costs $65 for the general public. Healthcare providers pay different fees.
Westport Volunteer EMS also offers Heartsaver First Aid training classes. These hands-on classes, Paretzky said, cost $40 and take up to four hours. Last year, he said, the service trained over 1,200 students in both CPR and first aid, the largest number of students trained in one year.
Beyond CPR and first aid, WVEMS also offers a National Safety Council Defensive Driving class, which teaches students defensive driving techniques to avoid collisions. This certified six-hour course cost $15 and is broken down into two, three-hour sessions. Both sessions must be attended.
Although it is strictly classroom-based instruction, which means there is no actual driving, Paretzky said most insurance companies offer a discount to senior citizens who complete the course.
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.