BY SHERI TRUSTY
When Port Clinton Fire & Rescue EMS Captain Brian Gutman approached Port Clinton High School Principal Gary Steyer about certifying students in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation, or CPR, a lifesaving technique that’s useful in many emergencies, such as a heart attack or near drowning, in which someone’s breathing or heartbeat has stopped. Steyer was thrilled his students would have another opportunity to better themselves.
To kick off the New Year, Gutman and his team of certified CPR instructors trained a group of freshmen in Seth Benner’s health class. Eventually, all of the school’s approximately 140 freshmen — plus school staff — will be certified in CPR.
“I’m beyond excited about this arrangement,” Steyer said. “Watching Port Clinton EMTs (Emergency Medical Technicians) train our kids has been fantastic. They relate to the kids so well.”
Gutman and his team trained the students in CPR and use of an automated external defibrillator (AED). They were taught basic first aid, including how to
recognize and respond to a stroke, seizure, concussion, heart attack and cardiac arrest. Port Clinton Fire & Rescue Firefighter Advanced EMT Robert Ward taught the class how to wrap a bleeding wound and apply a tourniquet.
Steyer said the instruction not only helped students learn new skills, but it also helped them earn points toward graduation under state guidelines. In the process, the students became better citizens by obtaining tools to help in an emergency. Far too often, when someone falls ill or is injured, there is no one to help until EMTs arrive.
“When we respond to an emergency, many times, there’s a group of people standing around someone on the ground, and no one knows what to do,” Gutman said.
After years of experiencing this same scenario over and over, Gutman developed a plan that could save lives.
“I want to saturate the community with people able to render CPR and first aid,” he said.
Thanks to local support, Gutman’s plan was implemented in fall 2021. All of the funding for the project came from local sources. An Ottawa County Community Foundation grant and a matching Hablitzel Family Fund grant paid for the equipment and the cost to have ten Port Clinton Fire & Rescue personnel trained and certified as CPR instructors. The Rotary Club of Port Clinton funded the students’ certification training.
By the time they finish training Port Clinton High School students and staff, Gutman and his staff will have certified over 300 locals in CPR. Although adults normally seek CPR certification, the generous funding allowed Gutman to take the project into the school to certify the next generation of helpers. Students like freshman Blaine Cleveland are glad he did.
“I think this is important because it keeps people more informed so they can help in these situations,” Cleveland said.
Port Clinton Fire & Rescue’s certified CPR instructors are available to offer CPR training to workplaces, organizations and individuals at the station or off-site. For more information, call 419-734-3430.