By Kayleigh Thesenvitz
Claremore Daily Progress, Okla.
Coming soon in Claremore, you can learn how to save a life from two women who have saved many.
LaVina June Martin, a retired EMT and ER tech, and her sister Eva Smith, a retired military medic and trainer, decided to open ELS Emergency Life Support Training Center. ELS stands for Eva and LaVina’s.
Both have maintained their certification to teach and certify others in a variety of life saving techniques.
Currently they can provide Red Cross certification for first aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), automated external defibrillators (AED) and basic life support (BLS).
The sisters believe there is a significant market for this kind of training in Rogers County.
“We’re not looking to get rich or anything like that,” Smith said. “This is what I did in the military, this is what I enjoyed, and when I talked to my sister she said yes because she enjoyed being an EMT as well.”
While some professions have instructors come to the place of business and teach these skills, the closest commercially available location to receive this kind of training is in Tulsa.
Martin said that these classes are for everybody. Businesses, teachers, parents, babysitters.
“A lot of first time parents want to learn CPR because they have new infants,” Smith said. “We teach them how to dislodge anything that there child might be choking on and give them the steps to follow.”
After they establish themselves, Smith and Martin hope to grow the scope of their business.
“We’re hoping, in time, that we can go out to the schools and just do little action things like teaching a basic choking class or a basic first aid class to children in school, because they need to know that kind of stuff too,” Martin said. She said it was especially true for people in rural areas, who may need to keep someone alive for longer amounts of time until help arrives.
“We will have a questionnaire for people to fill out to see what services they are interested in,” Smith said. “We could offer babysitter courses and other stuff too, but if people aren’t interested, it’s not something that we are going to invest in.”
The women said that emergency training is a vital skill, that anyone could find themselves needing at any time.
“A lot of people don’t know how they are going to react in a situation, so we want to prepare them,” Smith said.
The guidelines change every few years to match best practices, so someone who received CPR training 10 years ago may not know how to best save someone’s life today.
“We just want people to be prepared. If you’re out hunting, to know what you can do for first aid, what you can do if someone falls out of a tree, just providing that information to help people stay safe,” Smith said.
Martin quoted the statistic that if someone can admit CPR in the first few minutes of someone going down from a heart attack, stroke, seizure or asthmatic event, their chances of survival are exponentially greater.
As part of their grand opening festivities on October 6, ELS will be sponsoring a blood drive for the Red Cross as well as handing out free hot dogs and sodas.