SHELTON — Elizabeth Shelton School students have received a lifesaving lesson from the experts.

Echo Hose Ambulance Corps and the Valley Parish Nurses joined forces March 6 to give fourth graders instructions on aiding a choking victim and performing CPR.

Echo Hose Ambulance Assistant Chief Joe Laucella and Cathi Kellett of Valley Parish Nurses taught the students the Heimlich maneuver and using CPR training dummies to learn how to check breathing and give chest compressions.

“We believe everyone in the community should know how to save a life — at the very least, recognize when someone needs help and call 911,” said Kellett, of the Griffin Hospital Community Outreach program.

Training for the students was in the morning. The afternoon was for the school’s certified staff, who not only received CPR training but also instruction on the use of Narcan, an opioid antagonist used for the complete or partial reversal of opioid overdose.

Kellett said CPR is important to teach to people of all ages. The most important skill, she said, is recognizing that when someone is not breathing and cannot be woken up, then “you push hard and fast on the center of the chest. The research shows it saves lives by just pumping the heart.

“These kids are like sponges,” added Kellett. “They absorb the information, and they can do it. It is so important they understand that doing something is better than doing nothing. The most important thing is to call 911.”

Echo Hose Ambulance Corps visits ESS annually to offer the training to the fourth graders.

Pat Lahaza, Echo Hose Ambulance education and paramedic coordinator, stressed the importance of teaching older elementary age students.

“Everyone should know CPR, and introducing this training should be done earlier rather than later,” said Lahaza. “Kids this age love learning new things, and they love feeling the pride of being able to do it themselves.”

“The beauty of this non-certified family and friends course, you can give as much or as little information as you need,” said Kellett. “You look at the kids, and you can see who is getting it and adjust the training.”

Kellett said fourth graders are beginning to have an understanding how the human body works, which allows for more detailed training in some circumstances — including teaching the students about creating an artificial heartbeat.

“Kids really need to know how to help out and assist in these situations,” said ESS Principal Bev Belden, who requests Echo Hose Ambulance and Valley Parish Nurses visit her school every year to hold the training. “These kids pick up on this training quick, and they might save someone’s life.”

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com