Parents can feel at ease while their children are visiting Tolson Youth Activities Center because its entire staff is equipped and trained to perform basic life-saving measures.

Tolson YAC coordinated with Womack Army Medical Center to have volunteer paramedics teach children basic CPR and life-saving measures May 23. Students were in 6th to 12th grades and received CPR certification cards upon completion of the training.

First, students watched an instructional video on CPR and the application of the automated external defibrillator. Paramedics demonstrated how to properly perform the techniques before students practiced hands-on.

Some students were hesitant to perform on their own, but after one-on-one time with the paramedics, they found the confidence to perform the tasks.

This is the confidence Ryan Brooks, a paramedic with Womack Army Medical Center, wants to instill in the children that could save someone’s life.

“CPR works! If people can just get past the stigma that they will hurt someone, or they will catch something, they can help save a life,” Brooks said.

Brooks stressed the importance of quick reaction and earnest effort during a medical emergency.

“For every minute that CPR is not performed, your chance of survival decreases by 10 percent,” Brooks said. “Also, attempting CPR, even if it’s not done correctly, is better than not doing anything at all.”

The children found the class very educational and useful. Many students had plans to using the training immediately after their certification.

Will Harris, a 15 year-old St. Patrick Catholic School student, wants to use his certification to become a life guard. His sister Delaney, a 12 year-old Massey Hill Classical High School student, wants to be able to help others in need.

The CPR class was free for the center’s members and their parents in support of EMS Week. EMS Week is an annual celebration that has promoted the medical profession and community safety for the last 39 years.