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Nashua Community Training

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07/01/2016

Patty Stolarz believes in the power of community. Patty, 30-year paramedic and Nashua AMR station manager, says that emergency personnel can expand their finite resources by training citizens in how to help others in case of emergency. A pilot program out of Nashua, New Hampshire, Until Help Arrives, does just that.

The City of Nashua has several programs that prepare citizens for large-scale disasters, but Justin Kates, Director of Emergency Management for Nashua, realized there was a need for public training helping others during small-scale emergencies. He partnered with FEMA and with Nashua’s Emergency Management Team to design and implement such a course. 

During the program, participants are coached in how to effectively communicate with 911 and in how to position the injured, protect the airway, control bleeding and perform compression-only CPR. Trainers also cover emotional needs such as providing moral support until help arrives and finding counseling for those who have been involved in an emergency.

As of June 2017, the team has trained over 90 people ranging from ages 13 to 70 and has received excellent feedback. To fulfill demand, they will continue to conduct monthly trainings. In addition to Patty’s participation in the program, Karen Scott, AMR Advanced EMT, has assisted with the class, and additional AMR staff will have the opportunity to contribute to future sessions.

Participants attend the course for free since the program is fully funded by FEMA. An added benefit of the program is that it can serve as a path for citizens to take other Nashua emergency training courses including National Weather Service’s SKYWARN, Citizen Emergency Response Team (CERT) and Nashua Police Department’s Civilian Response to Active Shooter Events (CRASE).

According to Patty, Nashua’s Emergency Team has already trained thousands of people in CPR and there have been several saves in the area by the general public. The new program adds to the base of citizens who are equipped to help out. As for the Until Help Arrives program, Patty says, “I enjoy the interaction, and I love giving someone knowledge that can help them save a life.  All it takes is for one person to step up to the plate for a totally different outcome.”