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Students Learn CPR During Wheeling Junior Academy

Ohio County incoming sixth-graders practice giving CPR to manikins Wednesday at the Wheeling Middle School gymnasium as part of Wheeling’s Junior Police and Fire Academy.

WHEELING — Dozens of sixth-graders gathered in circles Wednesday morning in the gymnasium at Wheeling Middle School to practice life-saving techniques, such as CPR and the Heimlich maneuver, on life-size manikins.

The activity was one of many overseen by members of Wheeling’s police and fire departments this week at the city’s Junior Police and Fire Academy, which began Monday and continues through Friday.

“This is a good age for them to learn. It sticks with them. It’s something that they can take along with them into adulthood,” said Lt. Jason Milton, a paramedic for the Wheeling Fire Department.

The annual summer academy, now in its 12th year, allows public safety officers to teach incoming Ohio County sixth graders about a variety of topics related to safety, Milton said.

Throughout the week, students learned about first aid, using fire extinguishers, bike safety, swimming safety on top of Wednesday’s CPR and Heimlich maneuver lessons.

Toward the end of the week, officers will give the children a demonstration of using the “jaws of life” on a car and provide tours of a city helicopter and fire ladder truck, Milton said. Other safety lessons include ones on hunting, fishing and using cell phones and the internet.

The week-long academy is a free program that includes other activities, such as dodgeball, and lunch for the students, who are all local graduates of the D.A.R.E. program.

“When these kids become older, 15, 16, driving age, it’s to give them an appreciation of the bad things that can happen if they’re not safe behind the wheel,” Milton said of the car demonstration, which simulates how first responders save crash victims trapped in a vehicle.

Spencer Carnahan, 11, said he’s had a lot of fun so far this week at the academy.

“It’s been really fun. It’s amazing how they’ve been just helping and teaching us, and that they’re taking time off from their (jobs) to help us,” he said of the officers.

When asked what his favorite activity was, Carnahan said, “I would say basically everything. I love being here because it’s fun how I can get to do it and everyone else gets to do it.”

On Wednesday, officers worked with the kids to demonstrate how to properly conduct CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, to save someone’s life.

According to the Red Cross, before giving CPR, people should call 911 for assistance, open the person’s airway by tilting their head back slightly to lift the chin and then check if the person is breathing for 10 seconds.

If the person isn’t breathing, then CPR should be conducted. The Red Cross lists full steps of how to give CPR and features demonstrative videos on its website at redcross.org.

For adults wishing to become certified in administering CPR, first aid or an automatic external defibrillator, or AED, the organization also offers online and in-person classes in Wheeling that can be signed up for at redcross.org/take-a-class.

“The main goal is to make them aware of being safer,” Milton said of the junior academy. “It’s something that they can hopefully take with them into the future.”

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