News: CPR and first aid can, do save lives aboard Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow
Story by Keith Hayes
MARINE CORPS LOGISTICS BASE BARSTOW, Calif. — You’re in an elevator, or on the street, or in an office setting and suddenly a person complaining of chest, jaw or neck pain collapses right in front of you. Knowing what to do and when to do it could mean the difference between life and death for the victim of a heart attack.
If you had taken the CPR class taught several times a year by Firefighter Lt. Dale Warfield with the Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow Fire Department, you would immediately check the victim’s pulse in one of several places, check the airway for any blockages and begin chest compressions to get the oxygenated blood flowing to the brain until help arrives.
That help should ideally arrive within the “magic window” of 4 to 6 minutes, Warfield said.
The native of Canandaigua, N.Y., has been a firefighter for 15 years aboard MCLB Barstow, before that 10 years as a firefighter with the Navy and civilian departments and six years as a voluntary CPR instructor.
“It’s good to have CPR knowledge not just at work but at your house because you never know what’s going to happen, Warfield said. “At least you can start doing something after you call 911 and before the first responders arrive instead of just panicking.”
About a dozen people gathered at the Desert Valley Housing Community Center, Feb. 23 to avail themselves of the First Aid and CPR training as well as the proper use of the Automatic External Defibrillator used to shock a stalled heart back into proper rhythm.
Warfield said CPR training now stresses giving the victim a couple of breaths and then using several chest compressions to get the blood flowing to the brain to keep it alive until help arrives.
The validity of the training was dramatically demonstrated recently when three colleagues of a base worker began CPR techniques on the man when he collapsed on the Tees and Tree Golf Course aboard the base earlier this year.
That immediate CPR response probably saved the victim’s life, said Warfield.
“The golf course is a long way out for the fire department … so, it’s important to start the CPR as soon as possible because the window of opportunity to keep the brain from dying is only four to six minutes,” he said.
“Two of those men had taken my CPR class and I believe even the victim had also had the training,” Warfield said.
“It makes me feel good that they could put in to practice the skills I taught them. I enjoy teaching the class and interacting with people.”
Melanie Morales with Marine Corps Family Team Building aboard MCLB Barstow works with children quite a bit and felt it would be a useful skill to learn.
”I do play groups and I do activities with the spouses and their children are there and it’s a good thing to have that knowledge,” the native of Pomona, Calif., said.
Adult size state-of-the-art resuscitation mannequins gave responsive feedback to the student by indicating if the pressure of the chest compressions was hard enough, not hard enough or if the victim was “dying.”
Janet DeGraff has a summer job that requires constant training in life-saving techniques.
“I needed to renew my CPR certification for my job, which is a lifeguard at the Oasis Pool on base. It is a lot simpler and easier doing CPR and using the [Automatic External Defibrillator] than it used to be,” she said.
Manny Llanura, of Baguio City, Philippines, is the substance abuse counselor aboard the base, and as such, is required to be trained in CPR and First Aid.
“The biggest change to CPR training is the simplification of everything. It’s good to be prepared to help people in times of need, and knowing that you are capable of giving this help is a good feeling,” Llanura said.
Danicca Tadena, a San Juan City, Philippines, native and the wife of Maj. Phillip Tadena, director of base operations, said she likes to be prepared.
“Emergencies happen and I just want to be prepared for whatever may happen,” Tadena said, “and I also want to be certified to teach group exercise and I need [CPR training] to qualify for that.”
The AED has also become even simpler to use by simply placing two self-adhesive electrodes on the chest and stomach of an adult or the chest and back of an infant and pressing one button at the direction of the built in voice.
“We thought we’d get the AEDs out to several places around the base to give people a better chance of survival. I know [the fire department] is only about ten minutes from any place on base, but it gives the victim a better chance of survival to get someone working the CPR process on them as soon as possible before we arrive,” Warfield noted.
For information on when the next CPR and first aid classes are being held, call 577-6731/6867.