A free CPR class designed for people with disabilities is being sponsored by the Northwest Georgia Center for Independent Living.

The deadline is Wednesday, Aug. 21, to reserve a spot in the class, which is scheduled for Aug. 26 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Goodwill Career Center, 154 Hicks Drive.

“We want people with disabilities to get a good idea of what goes on,” said program manager Kathy Baker.

Shannon Johnson, clinical educator at Floyd Medical Center, will be leading the cardiopulmonary resuscitation training course. Attendees will get a certificate of participation.

They’ll also get some peace of mind, according to Erna Dobbs, referral coordinator at the CIL, who has already signed up for the class. Dobbs said she was certified in CPR before she was paralyzed and wants to update her skills.

“There will be mannequins geared to people with all kinds of disabilities so even me-in-a-wheelchair can participate,” she said.

The CIL sponsored a class a number of years ago, Baker said, “but the techniques are different now.”

The focus will be on saving adults. Sessions on how to help choking victims with a mild airway blockage and a severe blockage are both on the agenda. Participants also will learn how and when to perform hands-only CPR, use an AED — automated external defibrillator — and do CPR with breaths.

Dobbs said about 15 spaces were still available Wednesday. To register, contact the CIL by phone at 706-314-0008 or email, info@nwgacil.org.

The center has been stepping up its outreach in recent years and the Rome-Floyd Fire Department has been among its resources.

Deputy Fire Chief Curt Pierson said the agency hosted a camp this summer for the visually impaired, set up through the CIL. They’re also finding expanded uses for the new fire safety trailer.

“We’re trying to focus more on our special needs citizens,” Pierson told members of the fire overview committee this week. “We usually use the trailer to educate children, but it also has components for special needs.”

An example is a shaking bed that’s activated by smoke detectors, to waken deaf sleepers.

“A lot of those folks don’t know these things are out there,” he said.

The agency’s education department also will be working with a group of students at Georgia School for the Deaf on a fire safety video that Pierson said would be used throughout the state.

The Northwest Georgia Council for Aging also awarded the agency a $5,000 grant that’s being used to supply smoke detectors at assisted living facilities and residential areas.

“In the last weeks we’ve installed 52 smoke detectors in senior housing,” he said.


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