TRENTON, GA (WRCB)- It took twenty years, but retired Dade County nurse Vereniece Hawkins got her wish. She had lobbied various legislators and superintendents to teach lifesaving skills to Dade County High School students, but was always put off and delayed over concerns about cost and liability.
Finally she found a superintendent (Shawn Tobin) and emergency workers (Puckett EMS) who were willing to start a CPR/AED class, and now each freshman student is learning the skills during PE class.
Tobin commended the Puckett workers, and Dade County students for making the new class a success. He said students learn lifesaving skills, and also get a close-up look at a potential profession.
Student Dillan Gass said he has learned the Heimlich Maneuver, and what to do if he sees signs of someone choking. He has become comfortable using the electronic AED device, which is stationed outside the school office near the entrance of the school. Like many students, he had walked by the device, but had no idea what it was or why it was there.
Dennis Kelley, a 20-year EMT, said the students have been very attentive, and they now know what to do in case of an emergency. "These are skills they can use their entire life," Kelley said. "We're prepared to do this year after year. I wish more schools would see the value in this."