Bennington Rescue Squad to offer trainings Thursday

Free CPR, bleeding control classes

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BENNINGTON — Bennington Rescue Squad will offer free training in CPR and bleeding control this Thursday, in an effort to prepare community members to help stop preventable deaths.

The classes represent the squad's Save-A-Life day for community members in honor of Emergency Medical Services Week.

The classes will start every hour on the hour from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Bennington Rescue Squad at 120 McKinley St.

The sessions will also teach participants how to identify cardiac arrest, call for help and use an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED). The course is designed for adults and middle- to high-school-age children, depending on maturity, according to a press release from the squad.

"As long as they're mature enough, we encourage everybody to get trained basically as soon as possible," said Bill Camarda, deputy executive director of the Bennington Rescue Squad. "I've got two daughters — they've known how to do CPR since they were about 2."

The sessions will teach hands-only CPR training, which focuses on how to handle when "somebody's collapsed, and it appears that they're not breathing," Camarda said. It trains participants in how to recognize an emergency, call 911 and start CPR until help arrives.

Although the rescue squad conducts hands-only CPR training on a regular basis, this is the first time they've adding the bleeding control component to the training, he said.

Over the past few years, he said, there's been a lot of research about traumatic deaths in the United States, due to mass shootings and other mass casualty events.

"They find that a lot of the people that die in these events are due to severe bleeding that someone didn't stop," Camarda said.

Adding stop the bleed training made sense for Bennington Rescue Squad, he said.

"It made a lot of sense to us, especially since we are a more rural community, that we need to have more people have this education and knowledge in the community, before somebody bleeds to death," he said.

Both CPR and bleeding control training can save a life before emergency services arrive in just a "few simple steps," he said.

Having bystanders who can perform these steps is extremely important, as life-threatening bleeding and lack of oxygen can cause a person to bleed out or suffer brain damage in three to five or about four minutes, respectively — quicker than the average EMS response time, Camarda said.

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Most hands-only CPR and bleeding control is pretty easy, but people are hesitant to do it, because they don't want to do the person more harm, he said.

"The most harm we can do sometimes is doing nothing, and waiting," Camarda said. "That's a lot of what this training is, breaking down barriers to having people be willing to help."

Vermont also has a Good Samaritan Law protecting those who intervene.

"You, as a layperson trying to help someone else — there's no liability for potential harm you may have caused," he said.

As of Monday morning, about 10 people had signed up for the sessions, mostly via the squad's Facebook page.

"[It's] okay, but we'd like a lot more," Camarda said.

Registration is required, and is available on Bennington Rescue's Eventbrite or Facebook page, and participants can also register by calling the business office at 802-442-5817 between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Class size is limited, and the course does not result in CPR certification.

Emergency Medical Technicians and Advanced EMTs will teach the sessions. Bennington Rescue also plans to continue bleeding control/hands-only CPR training sessions, Camarda said.

This Saturday, there will be another opportunity for training at Mayfest, with Bennington Rescue Squad staff providing informal stop the bleed and hands-only CPR training throughout the event, which runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registration is not required for training at that event.

Organizers also plan to continue offering the class, possibly with more nights and weekends for people who have other commitments during the day.

Organizers also aim to offer the program at any public events Bennington Rescue staffs, Camarda said.

Patricia LeBoeuf can be reached at pleboeuf@benningtonbanner.com, at @BAN_pleboeuf on Twitter and 802-447-7567, ext. 118.


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