Students learn lifesaving skills

Students learn lifesaving skills
Posted on 12/04/2019
Students practice first aid skills during a recent classLast week, Plumas Charter School high school students learned skills that could save lives.

On Dec. 2, five ninth- and 10th-graders from PCS’s Quincy Learning Center attended a day-long Heart Saver CPR, AED and First Aid training with local Care Flight paramedic Eddy Mutch at the Quincy Fire Department.

According to the course description, this training covers recognition and management of illness and injuries until professional help arrives. Course completion means that the students are now CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) and first aid certified.

Students attended the training as part of the Experiential Ecology and Recreation program, administered by PCS Outdoor Education Coordinator Courtney Gomola.

Because EER students spend time hiking and backpacking, they were especially interested in being prepared to respond to outdoor emergencies. Thus, Mutch focused portions of his presentation on wilderness situations. As an avid outdoor enthusiast himself, he was able to ground his lessons in accounts of his own real-life experiences.

The class discussed hypothetical scenarios ranging from someone cutting himself while cooking in camp, to a person falling and hitting her head at the top of Spanish Peak, to someone having an asthma attack while hiking out of a canyon.

The common thread in response to any of these emergency situations, said Mutch, is to practice situational awareness when making decisions. Many variables may be at play in determining the “right” thing to do.

He also emphasized that one of the most important rules in backcountry emergency scenarios is to “make a plan, and then don’t deviate from the plan.” Too often, changing plans result in additional complexity, which can be dangerous. For example, if a hiker agrees to hike out to get help while an injured hiker stays behind, but the injured hiker later decides to try to hike out, emergency response personnel may have difficulty locating the injured person.

In addition to considering hypothetical scenarios, the students got hands-on practice with bandages, splints, epinephrine injectors (for those allergic to bee stings), inhalers, automatic external defibrillators, and more. In addition, CPR mannequins allowed them to practice chest compressions, choking response, and breathing techniques for adults, children, and infants.

Because EER classes like the first aid/CPR course also satisfy the initial requirements in Plumas Charter School’s Hospitality, Tourism, and Recreation career technical pathway, these students are now one step closer to a possible lifelong career choice!

Care Flight, a program of REMSA (Regional Emergency Medical Services Authority), offers community first aid and CPR classes for any interested groups. To learn more, or to set up a class, contact Alma Marin at (775) 353-0780 or [email protected]

To learn more about Plumas Charter School, including current enrollment opportunities, call (530) 283-3851.

By Ingrid Burke, Public Relations Specialist
[email protected]

Hands-only CPR
According to the American Heart Association, recent research has shown that even untrained bystanders can save lives using “hands-only” CPR. If an adult or teen collapses in a nonhospital setting, perform two steps: call 911 (or send someone to do that) and push hard and fast in the middle of the person’s chest.

High-quality CPR consists of the following steps:
    1) Minimize interruptions in chest compressions.
    2) Provide compressions of adequate rate and depth.
    3) Avoid leaning on the victim between compressions.
    4) Ensure proper hand placement.
    5) Avoid excessive ventilation.

To learn more, visit

In the photo: Paramedic Eddy Mutch guides Plumas Charter School 10th-grader Emily Fullerton as she practices bandaging ninth-grader Marlin Zittrer’s hypothetical sprained ankle while classmates look on. Mutch, a Care Flight employee, was providing a CPR and first aid class to Quincy students Dec. 2. Photo by Ingrid Burke