Dispatches from the Citizen’s Police Academy

Debbie Wolfe will report from each session of the 2017 Gulfport Citizen’s Police Academy. This is part three of 11.

Gulfport Fire Department Engine 17 carries four different sizes of water hose along with 750 gallons of water that takes from three to four minutes to drain, said Lt. Scott Burford on Thursday, February 2. The session was scheduled from 6 to 9 p.m. and shortly after this image was taken at about 8:45 p.m., the station house siren sounded and they were off to a medical call near Essex Avenue S. and 54th Street S. in Gulfport. No matter where a 911 call comes in from within Pinellas County, the response time is three to four minutes, five tops, which would be long, said Burford. “We often get to a home while the person who called 911 is still talking on the phone,” he said. “We have to tell them to hang up.”


When someone is injured and “you can’t find a heartbeat, doing CPR or using an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) in the first few minutes can help save someone’s life,” said Gulfport Fire Department Lt. Scott Burford. He demonstrates how the two shock paddles of an AED portable machine have easy-to-follow diagrams and that once the unit is turned on, audible verbal instructions also walk citizen responders through the life-saving workflow. The third academy in the series included citizen-level CPR and AED training.


Academy participant Pam Morrissey of Gulfport, a snowbird from Minnesota, practices her CPR compression technique on the chest of a headless dummy while co-instructor Gulfport Firefighter-EMT Lesley Jordan keeps a watchful eye in the background. “The most important part of CPR is doing compressions at the rate of 100 per minute while pushing down two inches because that keeps the blood flowing to the heart and brain until other medical help arrives,” said lead-instructor Lt. Scott Burford. “Doing mouth-to-mouth is a bonus these days. Compressions are the most important. Once you know CPR and how to use an AED, you can do something. That’s what it’s all about.”


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