Jessica Doray hopes she never has to use CPR, but she's glad she knows how in case an emergency arises, whether at work, at home or around town.
Doray, office manager for Southern Tree Services in Beaufort, is one of about 150 community members who have gone through new low-cost CPR and first-aid courses offered by the Beaufort-Port Royal Fire Department.
"We wanted to make sure that if anything ever happened, someone was there who knew what to do until help got there," Doray said.
The classes are part of the fire department's outreach and education and are not for profit. Costs are kept low by using firefighters already trained in instruction as teachers, Capt. Reece Bertholf said.
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"Everyone has seen CPR on TV, and they think they know what to do, but the question is, can they act and recognize the symptoms?" he said.
The fire department encourages businesses with employees who typically work out in the community -- for instance, The Greenery, which does landscaping for the city of Beaufort and the town of Port Royal -- to take the training. The idea is to prepare those whose faces are a common sight to respond to an emergency.
"Through our program, we have the opportunity to have people who are immersed in our community and can act," Bertholf said.
The Greenery is putting 18 employees through the CPR and first-aid classes.
The Thumbs Up Learning Center of Beaufort, which helps children with academics and behavior, paid for nine parents it works with to get CPR training, director Rosalyn Browne said.
"It can be anybody who might be called upon in an emergency," she said. "And wouldn't more lives be saved and more people come out of something with less harm if they had this kind of training?"
The fire department teaches the American Safety and Health Institute standards, and participants receive certification cards good for two years.