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La Veta students get medical and emergency awareness training

by Bree Lessar,
Superintendent of La Veta RE-2
LA VETA — On Thursday, March 22, La Veta students in grades 7 – 12 had a break from their everyday class schedules for a special event. The day’s activities were planned by the administration at La Veta Schools, in a collaborative effort with the Huerfano County Office of Emergency Management, the Huerfano County Sherriff’s Office, La Veta Marshall Bumgarner, the La Veta Fire Protection District and local Emergency Management Services.
Members of these agencies have been meeting on a quarterly basis at the school, forming the La Veta School Safety Taskforce, which has assisted the school in learning and implementing the newly adopted Standard Response Protocols for Emergency Management / Response throughout the La Veta School District. The taskforce began meeting in the fall of 2011 and one of the early goals of the group was to involve and prepare students to respond in emergency situations. This goal was realized with last week’s training.
The training provided useful, meaningful information to students about safe driving and using CPR in emergencies. Students were also exposed to careers related to emergency preparedness and management, law enforcement, and medicine. The day began with a presentation from Colorado State Patrol Troopers, who made the visit at the request of the Huerfano County Sherriff’s Office, and talked to secondary students about driving safety.
Following the assembly, students reported to grade-level classrooms and received training in “Family & Friends CPR Anytime,” delivered on DVDs from the American Heart Association. CPR Anytime teaches students the basics of hands-only CPR and allows for practice on a mini-Anne manikin.
Additionally, the DVD training was supervised by members of our local EMS crews, who were on hand to provide additional information, help demonstrate CPR, and answer questions posed by students.

Following CPR Awareness Training, students were given the opportunity to attend a variety of break-out sessions given by professionals. La Veta Fire Chief David DeTray and Lieutenant Mike Christian offered information about the local La Veta Fire Protection District and careers in fire-fighting, including details about student options to participate in the local junior fire-fighter program, which students can enter at age 15. Local EMS agents, including EMT Jennifer Halstead, Firefighter/ EMT John Hudson, Assistant Fire Chief / EMTI Mark Brunner, and Paramedic Mark Biggins spoke about EMT training and the work associated with pre-hospital medical services.
Huerfano County Emergency Manager Diego Bobian and Sherriff’s Deputy Ray Walsh offered a session on emergency preparedness and taught students about what items an individual or family should have on hand in a 72-hour emergency kit. In a fourth session, Dr. Ed Donovan, a semi-retired
neonatologist living locally, spoke to students about infant resuscitation and the importance of the first minutes of life for newborns.
The afternoon ended with a review of CPR and an introduction to the use of a defibrillator. The District’s new Automated External Defibrillator (AED) unit, recently donated by the Spanish Peaks Regional Health Center, was used to inform and train students on the use of a defibrillator in life-threatening emergencies.
Students responded positively to the day’s events, with the vast majority answering that, yes, they did learn something they didn’t know before the training on their evaluation forms. One freshman commented that, “it was really useful, I feel more confident about what I should do if I encounter an emergency.” Another student noted, “we should do this every year!”
The day was only possible through the highly collaborative efforts of committed people who live and work in Huerfano County. The La Veta School
District thanks all who participated in planning and carrying out this special event in our schools. For more information about school safety or volunteer opportunities in La Veta Schools, please contact Superintendent Bree Lessar at 719-742-3662, ext. 16