From the Oakville Beaver, May 21, 2010

First aid skills can be a lifesaver for everyone

Blakelock has a number of students who make a difference in our community every day in artistic, athletic and social areas.

It also has many students who are ready and able to respond to a medical emergency if, and when, they occur.

Corey Clarke is one of them.

Corey first became interested in lifesaving at age 14.

He wanted to be a lifeguard because he liked the water and is a good swimmer. His mom is also a lifeguard.

The decision to take courses in basic first aid has paid off for him and for others.

The process of getting his certificate for standard first aid took Corey 40 hours of training.

The standard first aid certificate enables the certificate holder to stabilize a person in needs life until the EMS arrives. With this certification, Corey still maintains a level of expertise.

Corey also took a course to gain the skills necessary to perform defibrillation. If the heart is off beat or weak, it must be shocked in order for it to stabilize and keep it beating.

The course necessary to gain the skills to perform defibrillation was an intensive one-day course held at the local YMCA.

It was here, at the Y, that Corey was evaluated and passed onto the next skill level.

All of the skills Corey has acquired over the years have provided him with a quiet confidence that recently paid a dividend for a young student who required immediate stabilizing/ response as the EMS was on its way.

Corey played a vital role in this situation and it isn’t the first time Corey’s skills have been called into action.

Once, while teaching aquatic leadership, a student exhibited signs of stress —  rapid breathing, incoherent speech and rapid eye movement.

Corey responded with the help of other leaders until the EMS arrived.

These skills are one of the important aspects of Corey’s future ambitions. Though he wants to pursue a career in urban forestry, he wants to maintain the level of skill he has achieved in lifesaving.

This fall Corey will be entering a program at Standard Fleming College in Lindsay, Ontario.

Corey believes high schools would benefit from some form of basic first aid training and is even considering, and willing, to come back next year, on occasion, to teach first aid to any and every willing student.

It’s the ownership of a lifesaving certificate and the skill the training provides that provides a pride in knowing that you have an ability to make a difference in a time of stress or trauma.

“It’s a skill that needs to be around because if something happens, it’s there,” said Corey.