It could happen anytime, anywhere – on St. George Street, at a business meeting, or inside the comfort of your home. One minute everything is fine, the next minute someone is unconscious and in need of immediate medical attention. What can you do?
If you’re trained in CPR, you can save a life.
“CPR is a lot less complicated than people think it is,” says Greta Hall, St. Johns County Fire Rescue’s coordinator for the American Heart Association (AHA) Training Center. “It’s easy; it’s effective. You can’t really do it wrong.”
Greta, who began teaching safety courses in 2006 for the Department of Military Affairs, has been with SJCFR since 2011. Her growing outreach program now includes multiple instructors who provide classes at the fire rescue headquarters and throughout the community. This past year, all high school seniors were trained in CPR/AED and Basic Life Support (BLS) and Greta is expanding the program to include fourth and fifth graders as well. She also oversees training programs for residents in St. Augustine’s senior communities.
“I moved here in 1981 when my dad was posted to the Florida National Guard Headquarters,” says Greta, a St. Augustine High School graduate. “So, leading this program is a way for me to give back to the community where I grew up.”
In 2015 and 2016, Greta and her team certified 25,501 people through 3,787 training courses for CPR, BLS, and advanced cardiac life support (ACLS). The AED (automated external defibrillator) training is especially important now that the machines are available in many public locations as well as some private businesses to assist in reviving unresponsive patients before emergency medical services arrive.
Many local businesses have arranged for Greta and her staff to come in and certify their employees in basic lifesaving skills. For Rick Cain, a former nurse who is now the Director of Museum Services for the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, working with Greta to train museum staff in how to handle medical emergencies for guests and employees was a no-brainer.
“Ms. Hall provides a tremendous service to our community,” says Rick. “The ability for me to establish and maintain our partnership with St. Johns County Fire and Rescue through Ms. Hall’s department, and the services she provides, is invaluable to our staff and volunteers here at the Lighthouse and literally saves lives.”
Class schedules at the fire department headquarters are available online. Community groups and businesses interested in offering classes on location to their members or staff can contact Greta directly to set-up a time. All class rates are based on a per-student basis and require a minimum of five students per class.
See class information online at www.co.st-johns.fl.us/FireRescue/CPR. Photography by Brian Miller.