Everyone should know basic CPR and how to use a defibrillator.
Having these skills can be the difference between a good or a bad outcome, according to Clinton’s community paramedic and acting unit chief Diana Guerin. That’s why the 30-year emergency service veteran is offering a CPR training course Sunday, Sept. 11 at the Clinton Community Hall.
“It’s not just for people who want to join BC Emergency Health Services, it’s also for the community to help themselves,” Guerin said. “God forbid, if they could come across someone in cardiac arrest they can be our lifeline until an ambulance gets there. We can all be fully staffed, across the province, but there’s no guarantee an ambulance will always be there right when you request it.”
Guerin said the instruction is being provided by her fellow Clinton paramedic Steven Baker, an instructor for Thompson Rivers University. Baker will be teaching all levels of CPR, airway management, how to use an automatic external defibrillator (AED) and the proper use of a naloxone kit in the result of a drug overdose.
CPR and the use of an AED are proven to be very successful in saving lives over the years. Clinton has several AEDs stored around the community, including in the community hall. The Village of Clinton has a complete list of the AEDs available on request.
Those interested can sign up for the course until Sept. 6 at webapps.tru.ca under course registration. Guerin said they need a minimum of eight people to hold the course.
Guerin said she’s also using the class as an opportunity to encourage people to join the BCEHS. Province-wide, Guerin said there is a shortage of paramedics due to a mix of burnout and retirement. Experience in CPR and a Class Four driver’s license are two of the requirements to become a paramedic.
Guerin, who has lived in Clinton for 50 years, said her motivations come from a desire to help her community. It’s that same desire that prompted her to pursue a career in the medical field.
As a community paramedic, Guerin said she helps patients in Clinton with chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease as well as patients under palliative care choosing to pass away at home. This work is just as important as an emergency paramedic, which Guerin still does whenever she is called upon.
“I just try to give back to my community, I put my family and community first,” Guerin said. “Sometimes there are heartaches, but there are far more rewards than anything else. Just to put a smile on a patient’s face as you hold their hand means everything.”