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APW JSHS students participate in vital life-saving programs

A team from the American Red Cross recently brought two emergency preparedness programs to Altmar-Parish-Williamstown Junior-Senior High School, imparting crucial skills essential for emergency situations.


Citizen’s Preparedness Corps Training is a state program designed to teach all members of the community how to prepare, respond and recover in the event of an emergency.  The training also provides information on types of common disasters, ways to prepare as an individual, family, and community member, what to do when disaster strikes and what actions you can take afterward to aid in your recovery.


Hands-only CPR teaches students the full "circuit" of compression-only CPR. Participants learn how to check for consciousness, call 911 (or the local emergency number) and give continuous chest compressions. CPR training certification is not provided through this course.


Katherine Olmstead, who is part of the Red Cross team and an AmeriCorps member, expressed the importance of building self-confidence and resiliency during these presentations. “If and when students are faced with a stressful situation, they remember the knowledge and the skills they have and trust in their ability to take care of themselves and the ones around them,” she said.


These programs allow students to listen, engage in discussions, watch videos and participate in hands-on activities. Olmstead even encouraged a friendly competition as student volunteers attempted four minutes of non-stop chest compressions to the beat of “Stayin’ Alive” by the Bee Gees.


“Our JSHS students have now been equipped with knowledge that could potentially save the life of a family member or friend,” noted District Athletic Director George Emrich, who discovered the immense value of these programs at a previous district before he brought them to APW.


Emrich plans to make these trainings an annual activity for all JSHS students, while also exploring opportunities to introduce babysitting, lifeguarding, EMT or other advanced lifesaving courses to the district.


The Red Cross offers a similar but condensed version of training called “Be Red Cross Ready.” Their other program, “Prepare with Pedro,” is tailored for pre-K through second grade students. All preparedness presentations are free of charge. To learn more, visit