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Lifesaving lessons

Mary Mihalek, left, a library assistant at Superior Middle School, gets assistance using an automated external defibrillator (AED) from Gold Cross Paramedic, Anders Hultstrom, during training on Thursday morning. (Jed Carlson /

Educators got life-saving lessons Thursday from Superior firefighters, police and Gold Cross emergency medical technicians.

"This is an extension of what we did last year and the year before with our Health, Heart and Safety Day," said Superior Fire Battalion Chief Scott Gordon. "It's just a continuation. That training came about because of the state mandate to teach CPR in the schools."

Enbridge Energy funded the training last year, allowing the fire department to provide the training utilizing off-duty firefighters to meet that mandate and more.

"It's part of our commitment to keeping communities safe," said Becky Haase, Enbridge senior community engagement adviser for the Superior Region. The training was funded through the Safe Community Grant program, available to emergency responders for training and equipment in communities near Enbridge facilities.

A year ago January, the first mass cardiopulmonary resuscitation training took place at Superior High School. Off-duty firefighters with the department's paid for services division trained 300 seventh graders in CPR in one day. Then in November, about 325 more seventh graders joined the ranks of potential lifesavers when they learned CPR when the Superior Fire Department trained every seventh-grader the following school year in the lifesaving technique.

An anonymous donor paid for the first round of training, and Enbridge Energy picked up the tab for training in November.

"The Superior Fire Department — we've had a great relationship with them and they opted to use funds from us to put this one, knowing that the schools wanted to get their staff and students trained in CPR and AED," Haase said.

"It was so successful after year one and year two, so Enbridge asked what else they could do," Gordon said. "So that's how I came up with this idea: 'Let's do something for the teachers.'"

Gordon said Enbridge Energy put in additional funding to support the training for educators with some support from the school district. Gordon said he's been trying to arrange a time with the district.

A teacher's in-service this week provided the perfect opportunity. With students out of school Thursday and today, teachers had the chance to sign up.

"They just wrote this two-hour block into the curriculum and they just opened it up for enrollment," Gordon said. "We didn't know what the number was going to be — we ended up with 190."

Gordon said the fire department got the police department and Gold Cross involved, because unlike the seventh graders last year, they don't have all day to provide the training.

"We did 320 seventh-graders but that was over the course of the whole day," he said.

To accommodate the teachers, Gordon had seven instructors on hand and divided teachers into five groups to work through each of five stations with 20 minutes to learn each skill set.

Haase said it was great to see so many people in the lifesaving training on Thursday.

Thursday, educators in the Superior school district had the opportunity to learn about providing CPR for adults, and children and infants, how to use an AED, bleeding control and how to respond to other medical emergencies.

"We're super excited that we were able to fund their efforts here," Haase said.

"The goal is to get more people trained in lifesaving measures," Gordon said. "Just with Enbridge's funding, we've trained 500 people in how to do CPR. In a city of 27,000, we've trained 500 in how to do CPR. That's pretty cool. That's pretty impactful."