CPR/AED Class a Hit at Northwest Maritime Academy

The Northwest Maritime Academy kicked off the New Year with a free awareness class on CPR and use of an AED on Jan. 4.

Thirteen people made it their New Year’s Resolution to be better prepared in an emergency by attending the training at Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard. Thomas Bliss, director of training at the Northwest Maritime Academy and veteran emergency medical responder instructor, covered the basics of cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of an automated external defibrillator.

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Emergency medical responder instructor Thomas Bliss demonstrates checking for breathing for a CPR/AED class at the Northwest Maritime Academy.

Northwest Maritime Academy a Good Fit for Classes

The training was held in the comfortable and attractive classroom space at the Northwest Maritime Academy at Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard. While intended to be an awareness class on CPR and AED, the training provided a solid overview and gave attendees a good grasp of the basics, many commented during the evening.

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A class participant takes notes during a CPR/AED awareness training at the Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard classroom.

“I’m learning so much,” said one woman during a break. “This is such good information that I never knew before,” said another. Participants ranged in age from a 12-year-old middle school boy to senior citizens and included a carpet installer, several health care professionals and retired area residents.

Northwest Maritime Academy a Good Fit for Classes

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Instructor Thomas Bliss delivers his training material with the right touch of humor.

Bliss, a U.S. Coast Guard-licensed master mariner with 15 years of experience in the emergency response industry, delivered his material in an easy-to-grasp manner that put participants at ease for learning and asking questions. He kept the subject matter light enough to not be intimidating, but serious with frequent reiteration of the key points:  make sure the scene is safe, check for consciousness, call 911 and send someone for an AED, check for breathing, start CPR — 30 chest compressions and two breaths, repeated.

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Bliss demonstrates placement of defibrillator pads during his CPR/AED training at the Northwest Maritime Academy.

AEDs have become fairly common in the workplace after coming on in full force in 2008, said Bliss. They are usually in a very visible location for easy access by the public. The device, which Bliss calls “the doc in the box,” is easy to use and speaks to the responder, giving simple, clear instructions.

Northwest Maritime Academy a Good Fit for Classes

Bliss gave a statistic that most cardiac arrests happen in the home, and he shared a motto for class participants to keep in mind: “The worst time to plan for an emergency is in the middle of one.”

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Class participants practice CPR as trainer Thomas Bliss circulates to offer instruction and tips.

The experienced instructor plans to hold three awareness classes on CPR/AED at the Northwest Maritime Academy each year, with the next one planned for July or August. Classes are free and open to the public.

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Bliss demonstrates fingertip compressions for infant CPR.

Bliss conducts other emergency response classes and marine-related trainings throughout the year at the Northwest Maritime Academy, which is available for rental when not in use by his education organization, Northwest Response. The classroom space rents for $250 for up to six hours and accommodates 36 people at rectangular tables, with a maximum seating capacity of 125 people in rows of chairs without tables.

Northwest Maritime Academy a Good Fit for Classes

The classroom is accessible by stairs from Gig harbor Marina & Boatyard and also from street level, without any steps, near the entrance to the Queen’s Cabinet ladies’ boutique on Harborview Drive.  The classroom has a restroom and easy access to The Club @ The Boatyard venue and prep kitchen below.

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Instructor Thomas Bliss draws a normal heart rhythm, at the top of the white board, and one in arrhythmia, or cardiac arrest, for his CPR/AED class at the Northwest Maritime Academy.

Go to Northwest Response to learn more about course offerings and to register for classes.  For more information on classes or classroom space, contact Capt. Thomas Bliss at:  thomas@nwmaritime.us or 253-358-2447; or contact Danielle Taylor, hospitality manager at Gig Harbor Marina & Boatyard at dtaylor@gigharbormarina.com or 253-858-3535.

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