On Saturday, October 21 Fairfield High School student Isaac Lauver was enjoying a meal at one of his favorite places to eat, the 3D in Great Falls, along with his mom and dad, Michelle and John.
“We were just done eating,” Isaac told the Sun Times, “and were waiting for our receipt when a man at another table stood up and put his arms up.” That man, who Isaac said was bout 55 to 60 years old, was choking.
A younger man at the table, possible the older gentleman’s son or son-in-law, began attempts to help by using the Heimlich Maneuver.
Isaac had recently been trained in the Heimlich Maneuver at Fairfield High School as part of the Emergency Medial Response class taught by Loren Tacke.
Isaac recalls hearing someone in the room say that the man was choking, and he noticed that the younger man was having trouble using the Heimlich properly. “He was a smaller guy,” said Isaac.
Isaac said at first he hesitated, but after asking his mom, he went over and tapped the younger man on the shoulder and said, “Hey, I’m training to be an EMR”
He got into position and began the Heimlich to dislodge the piece of food. “It went smoothly, the piece flew out [of the victim’s mouth].”
After it was over, Isaac said that the man said, “thank you,” and another diner said “good job.”
As soon as he could, Isaac called Loren Tacke to tell him what he had done, and the reply was “Wow! Good job.”
When he graduates, Isaac said he would like to volunteer with Fairfield Ambulance. As for what he plans to do for a living after school, underwater welding is high on his list.
Isaac said there are about seven students in the EMR class.
When asked what it meant for one of his students to apply what he had learned in one of his classes, Tacke responded, “It is exciting to know that what you teach actually can help make a difference in somebody’s life. It is not often that we get to see the results of what we teach and that our students can take the skills taught and help somebody have a little better day.
I am very proud of Isaac and all of the students that take the EMR/EMT classes. They work hard and take their training very seriously. I always tell my students that if we are needed, we are seeing that person have a really bad day and we need to do whatever we can to help them anyway we can.”
Tacke said he averages about 6 - 10 students in the EMR class and a few less in the EMT class.
“Our EMT class is offered second semester and students who complete the class must take the national practical and state written test to become certified. I have had several students go on and become EMTs and then go into other health related fields.”
“I feel it is something all students need, even if they are not going into the medical field just the knowledge from the EMR class is something they will always have and hopefully never need. But it is great to have and be able to apply the skills learned in EMR class when needed.
According to Deb Coverdell, Teton County EMS Director, Isaac would be able to serve on an ambulance crew after he graduates from school, as the minimum age is 18.
Asked if he would be required to take a test, Coverdell said no, that as the EMR class is conducted, tests are given. Of the program at Fairfield High School, Coverdell said it’s a “good program.” She added that she has also worked with the school in Valier to offer the course.
There have been several students who took the FHS course who have gone on to serve on the Fairfield Ambulance crew.
Isaac was rightfully proud of what he had done, possibly saving a man’s life. Asked if that was common for people newly trained in emergency medical procedures, Coverdell said “absolutely.” She went on to say that she received her training in 2003 and was licensed in 2004, and that she felt the same sense of pride the first time she was able to put her training into practice. “I’m blushing now, just thinking about it.”
She added that the Fairfield Ambulance is looking for new volunteers. There is a new round of EMR training planned in January, and she encourages anyone interested to call her at 590-3748.