Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

April 27, 2014

Learning to save a life in Spanish

Crum teaches the importance of communication in emergency situations

Charles Romans
For The Independent

Lloyd — Greenup County High School athletic trainer Amy Crum stresses the importance of being prepared in emergency situations to students.

The class she recently taught was the American Heart Association’s First Aid, CPR and AED to Catherine Del Valle’s Spanish class. Many things have changed in the class, as compared to what  her students’ parents may have learned.

“The sequence has changed,” Crum said. “We really stress the compression now, with as many and as often as possible. Now we start by assessing the patient, then starting compressions and after that the breathing.”

Crum noted the number of compressions to breath ratio has changed as well, with the accepted numbers being 30 compressions to two breaths.

Teaching the class to students is different from teaching adults, mainly because of the eagerness and willingness to learn. Often adults are required to take courses for their jobs, which isn’t quite the same as choosing a class voluntarily.

“The kids ask lots of questions because they are really involved and into it. They do well, and retain the information we are giving to them.”

Students as well as adults can check out the American Heart Association’s online program to follow up on any information, and Crum recommends handsonly.org.

The Spanish class had a dual purpose for the emergency training. Students were taught how to ask for help and how to tell first aid responders what pains they had in Spanish.

“I have tried to stress the value to my kids of being bi-lingual because it can improve your ability to communicate and even improve your employability,” Del Valle said. “The communication aspect of it is so important, especially in an emergency situation where maybe either the person who happens to be hurt — or the person treating you, if you are hurt — doesn’t speak English.”

Del Valle gave an example to her class of a friend who didn’t speak the local language and got hurt far from home, and of the difficulties she encountered receiving treatment because of her inability to communicate.

Crum taught the classes the emergency skills and certified them in English, and Del Valle trained the students to both respond and ask questions in Spanish.

“They take turns being nurse and patient,” Del Valle said. “And it really is part of survival to know the phrases and questions and how to respond from both sides of treatment.”

Del Valle said that training such as the emergency classes work toward proficiency in real life situations, rather than simply memorizing words. She believes that it helps the students to become more capable of communicating and mastering the language.

Most schools have similar programs incorporated into their curriculum, Crum said. But she is uncertain as to whether or not a bi-lingual class is taught in other schools.

“They did really well,” she said. “This type of training is valuable to everyone, because in an emergency situation seconds count. You never know when you might be the person who saves some else’s life.”