MILLBURN, NJ - As newly-minted cadet members of the Millburn/Short Hills Volunteer First Aid Squad (MSHVFAS), Ross Bell and Giulia Nisita were required to undergo Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training. Now, Bell and Nisita are working to give that training back to the greater Millburn community, through a program called savAED.
Bell noted that unlike most other local cadet programs, Millburn required the two to become certified Emergency Medical Technicians, which would allow them to perform all the same procedures as their colleagues when riding on the ambulance.
Following their training, Bell and Nisita took their Basic Life Support (BLS) Instructors Class this past July, which enables them to certify people in CPR, AED and First Aid.
As Bell said, working with the first aid squad helped the cadets, and formed the first part of the idea in their mind.
The BLS class was also the first time the two had the idea to develop what would later become saveAED. In the program, participants learn how to do a variety of first aid tasks, including CPR, epi-pen administration, bleeding control and choking response.
"MSHVFAS put a lot of emphasis on training young providers, like us, on the importance of acting quickly and confidently in an emergency situation," Bell said. "We recognize the need for people to have some basic lifesaving skills at their fingertips so they can use them without hesitation in an emergency, where every minute counts."
"We first decided to develop [savAED] as we were signing up for our BLS (Basic Life Support) Instructors Class," he continued. "We realized that while training our fellow EMTs (the BLS Instructor class also allows us to re-certify and certify EMTs in CPR/AED use) is a useful skill, there is still a need for first aid and CPR training in our community. Knowing the first steps in basic emergency care can be lifesaving."
The savAED program offers training at a variety of levels, in several different groupings. Bell explained that it is almost impossible to cover all lifesaving care in just one blanket program, and said that even his 200-hour EMT class did not cover everything.
That is why Bell and Nisita offer numerous classes, each putting emphasis on certain skills. Bell explained why that was so important, noting that different people may want to take their class for different reasons.
"For example, if you are a new parent or a babysitter, you’re probably interested in our family and friends course, which puts emphasis on infant and child emergencies, as opposed to someone who needs CPR/AED certification to fill a job requirement," he said. "Also, the time commitment varies based on the class, providing people with more flexibility."
In addition, Bell and Nisita spent a lot of time crafting their Family and Friends Course, which puts emphasis on what the two believe are the most frequent home emergencies that people see, which include bleeding, choking, anaphylaxis, cardiac arrest and more.
Since starting savAED, Bell and Nisita have done a variety of things to get the program noticed, including sharing their poster advertisement in the Happy Millburn facebook group. They also worked to get an announcement in the Millburn BOE summer newsletter.
And the school district was happy to oblige. After all, Bell graduated from Millburn High School this year, and Nisita is a rising senior.
"It might seem impressive to observers, but to us, this is just fulfilling our passion for learning about medicine and patient care," Bell said. "As EMTs, we see too many people standing around watching emergencies happen. And although we might seem young, no one is ever too young to make a difference to someone in need of help."
Residents interested in signing up for the course can do so through Bell and Nisita's website: savAED.com.
The duo are also available by phone at 973-710-5387 and at 973-906-0305 or by email at savAED911@gmail.com. Small groups are also encouraged to sign-up together either by emailing or calling for a reservation, and the two can come to residents.