Training Tigers: New England teachers learn CPR, emergency medical protocols

New England Public School staff learned about CPR, Narcan and other medical interventions Wednesday during a three hour seminar with Dickinson Ambulance Service veteran EMT Darryl Wehner.

Reading and Math Assistant Taylor Hafner, left, and P.E. student teacher Ashly Karenzel practice CPR on mannequin babies. Karenzel is also the track and cross country coach.
Jason O'Day / The Dickinson Press

NEW ENGLAND, N.D. — The odds of surviving cardiac arrest that occurs outside a hospital are slim, with a 90% fatality rate according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But CPR can double or even triple a victim's chances of living. In areas like rural southwest North Dakota, knowing how to act quickly before the paramedics arrive is especially important.

Shannay Witte is New England Public School’s tech coordinator and a math teacher. She’s also a certified CPR instructor, and helped Wehner with the seminar. Witte noted that frequently being around students and large groups of people generally greatly increases their likelihood of encountering such peril.

Faculty, staff and coaches were split into morning and afternoon groups so they would still have someone to chaperone students. The employees learned how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and proper technique for addressing foreign body airway obstruction (colloquially known as the Heimlich maneuver) on adults, children and infants.

New England girls high school basketball coach Jason Jung practices CPR on a mannequin.
Jason O'Day / The Dickinson Press

“Whether we're at a ballgame, in the classroom, or you know, the cafeteria is always a big one, it's important that they know how to deal with these emergency situations should they arise,” Witte said. “We've been training staff for years.”

Darryl Wehner is an EMT and emergency procedures instructor with the Dickinson Ambulance Service. He said before approaching a victim who appears to be unconscious, make sure there are no signs of smoke or other toxic chemicals that could hurt you as well.


He emphasized that medics shout “Clear!” for an important reason before they administer the shock of an automated external defibrillator, offering an anecdote of a time he witnessed a transfer of the electric shock while treating a cardiac arrest.

Shannay Witte demonstrates how to use the AED kit.
Jason O'Day / The Dickinson Press

“The flight nurse charged up the monitor and without warning… The paramedic realized he had one hand away and the other hand was still touching the patient. I've never seen a hand shoot up so fast,” Wehner said, encouraging staff to be mindful of other conductive surfaces such as large pools of water or aluminum bleachers before deploying the AED.

Currently the school has one AED in its west wing. Superintendent Brent Bautz said they plan to get a second at some point in the near future. Facilities that have AED kits hanging on the wall should check the batteries at least once a month.

Heartsaver Techniques by inforumdocs on Scribd

Regarding drug overdoses, he explained the lifesaving drugs Narcan and Naloxone. Wehner said anyone with a friend or family member they believe to be struggling with an opioid addiction should go to their local drug store and ask for Narcan. He said the pharmacist will write them a prescription free of charge and explain how to use it.

“They will only work on opioids. If you suspect somebody is passed out and you have no idea why, accepted practice now is to administer Narcan. If it's an opioid, it'll help bring them around. If it's not opioids, it won't do anything and won't harm them,” he said.

He recommended administrators coordinate with the Southwest District Health Unit on developing an emergency drug overdose response plan.

“Maybe get some (Narcan) here. I know, New England School District has very studious students, and none of them are going to dabble in any drugs. Right? We hope they don't. But every (district has drugs),” Wehner said. “Kids are doing it. They want to be cool.”

He also said many ambulance services have started giving half doses of the OD reversal drugs spread out over several minutes.


“They're finding out that if you give them the full two milligrams, they're going to wake up too fast. And believe me, they come up swinging. They are ticked off because you took away their high, even though you just saved their life,” he said.

Wehner also provided a crash course on using Epipens for allergic reaction. According to Wehner they contain epinephrine, which is similar to adrenaline naturally produced by the body. Even if an Epipen is expired, it could still potentially save a life.

“If it's the only thing you have, and it's this or watch him die, you might want to try it. Before you do that though it has a little window, look in there and see if it's clear liquid. If there's any cloudiness in there, do not use it no matter what. If it's clear, then it's up to you,” he said.

He also explained proper protocol for how to treat a seizure before medics arrive.

“If they're flailing around, move stuff away from them so they don't hurt themselves. Put some padding under their head, so they don't beat themselves into being a politician and wait it out,” he said. “Most seizures will be over in three to five minutes.”

Janitor Missy Crosson said she already knew CPR from previous training sessions, but noted that it was helpful to have a refresher. She noted that it was also more focused specifically on the differences in how to save infants and children versus adults, as well as administering Narcan.

“The Narcan, we’ve never had to deal with that before. Unfortunately we’re in a day and age where we have to. I didn’t know anything about it,” Crosson said.

More information about the proper way to perform CPR can be found on the Cleveland Clinic’s website. To inquire about having the Dickinson Ambulance Service provide an emergency training seminar for your business or organization, call 701-225-1500.


New England Public School
New England Public School.
Jason O'Day / The Dickinson Press

Jason O’Day is a University of Iowa graduate, with Bachelor’s Degrees in Journalism and Political Science. Before moving to Dickinson in September of 2021, he was a general news reporter at the Creston News Advertiser in southwest Iowa. He was born and raised in Davenport, Iowa. With a passion for the outdoors and his Catholic faith, he’s loving life on the Western Edge. His reporting focuses on Stark County government and surrounding rural communities.
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