SIOUX CITY, Iowa (KCAU) – While many essential businesses are departments remained open throughout COVID-19 closures in Siouxland, training for CPR and EMS was put on hold.
“Training itself stopped altogether, our in-house training we do monthly. We did not meet. We did everything via email for communication, back and forth, so it changed things dramatically for a couple of months anyway,” Le Mars EMS Director Mike Wise said.
Wise said they are finally ready to resume EMS training.
“Technically, we missed two months’ worth of training in-house, but I think maybe if we added one to it we can get ourselves back on track, just getting the good quality training in is very important. I’m glad to see that, you know, I feel pretty safe and comfortable now to say we can get back together, face to face, and do our hands-on skill stuff,” said Wise.
The Norm Waitt Sr. YMCA is opening up CPR classes this month.
“When classes kinda opened back up, we had a lot of employers reaching out, needing to get their staff trained. So, a lot of things got put on halt during COVID, but that doesn’t stop the need for people to know how to take care of a cardiac arrest, a choking victim, that stuff is still happening,” said Wellness Director Jacque Perez.
Training classes are smaller than before, due to social distancing. Despite the demand, only 5 people are allowed per class.
“It’s tough on the people who have never had it before, this is their first time, and they need it to be employed, so they have kinda just been on wait until they can get in,” said Perez.
Sioux City Parks and Recreation couldn’t afford to wait for classes to resume, so they worked with Red Cross to get their lifeguards CPR certified.
“If we couldn’t get some new people hired, it would have been pretty tough to even open the pools this year. We would have basically been running on people that have been certified and are already certified, so, it would have been kind of a headache, and it still was getting all these people trained and doing it properly with distancing and spreading people out. There were a lot of hoops we had to jump through, but we are happy we were able to get it done,” said John Byrnes, the Parks and Recreation supervisor.
“I’ve been teaching CPR for over 10 years now, and it’s a skill I think everyone should be aware of and know how to do, regardless of if their job needs it or not,” said Perez.