Bibb students getting free CPR training

Employees of one of Bibb County’s largest ambulance services hope to teach all the county’s public and private high school students CPR and first aid.

So far, they’ve started by teaching the life-saving skills to 125 seventh- and ninth-graders at First Presbyterian Day School.

Recently, students took a six-hour course, learning to give chest compressions and rescue breathing. They also learned how to use a defibrillator.

“Our goal is that every high school (student) know CPR before they graduate,” said Chuck Asbell, spokesman for Mid Georgia Ambulance, which responds to 911 calls in the north and western portions of Bibb County. “The more people who know it, the better the community can be.”

Mid Georgia Ambulance runs more than 40 ambulances in four Georgia areas, including Macon.

The courses are being offered at no cost.

Other church and civic groups can also request the course for a $3.50-per-person fee.

Asbell said that cost covers printing American Heart Association CPR and first aid certification cards for those who complete the course.

The skills are beneficial in schools for a couple of different reasons, Asbell said.

At many schools, the number of school nurses is dwindling because of budget cuts. If a student were in danger, the more students trained in CPR, the better, he said.

Last week, a proposed bill passed the Senate that could require Georgia’s public schools to teach first aid as part of the health and physical education curriculum. Senate Bill 298 calls on the state Department of Education and Department of Community Health to decide what will be taught.

Asbell said there is no current law that requires teachers or administrators to be certified in CPR and first aid.

The typical response time for Mid Georgia Ambulance to a 911 call is eight to 13 minutes, Asbell said. That means there’s plenty of time for serious injury before they arrive if no one can help.

“If we have a bystander doing CPR, it levels the playing field,” he said.

Last semester at First Presbyterian Day School, the ambulance agency taught about 60 students CPR, and they recently taught another 65 students. Students received a grade.

“We are trying to teach kids how to be healthy and to know how to properly take care of themselves and others,” said Elizabeth Leslein, FPD’s physical education and ninth-grade girl’s health teacher. “What greater tool is there for us to teach kids how to do CPR? They could save someone’s life.”

All FPD teachers have also been trained. Leslein said there have been instances at FPD when teachers have had to use CPR on a student until an ambulance arrived.

For more information about taking CPR and first aid through Mid Georgia Ambulance on Holt Avenue in Macon, call Asbell at (478) 319-0814 or e-mail him at

To contact writer Julie Hubbard, call 744-4331.