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A group of residents from Atlantic Highlands are better prepared today to help someone suffering sudden cardiac arrest thanks to a recent cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) class held at the Atlantic Highlands First Aid & Safety Squad and taught by squad trainers.

The community CPR class developed through a conversation between AHFAS Captain Tom Hayden and resident Colette Umar, who asked about being trained in the critical, life-saving skill as part of her studies as a preschool teacher. From there, Umar put out a call for participants on Facebook. More than 40 people responded and 14 were able to attend a program delivered by AHFAS members who are American Heart Association certified CPR instructors.


“The class was a great refresher since it has been a few years since the last one I took,” Umar said. “The class was both informational and a lot of fun!”

“The idea for the class was Colette’s and it mushroomed into something quite nice,” said Hayden. “This was a great way for us to connect with the community we serve, while also building the number of people who can provide CPR in times of emergency. Together, we are making the community stronger.”

Residents gathered on a Sunday morning to go through the class, which included learning CPR, how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED), how to help choking victims, and how to handle the same situations with infants and children. In addition to Hayden, the instructors included AHFAS Chief Lance Hubeny, Richard Huff, Shannon Martiak and Tim Barnes.

“The Atlantic Highlands First Aid Squad presented one of the most professional and effective child and adult CPR classes that I have ever attended,” said Dawn M. Greenleaf, owner of A Child First at Miss Dawn’s Cottage, a childcare program for infants and young children. “As safety is a top priority of mine, it is important to me to both stay current in my infant-child CPR skills and to give parents reassurance with a formal certificate and to be able to help in any emergencies with family members, or the general public, as well.”


Over the course of four hours on a Sunday morning, the residents, using training manikins and AED units, participated in hands-on training they can use in case of an emergency in their homes or workplace. The AHFAS instructors told attendees they will play a key part when encountering someone suffering from sudden cardiac arrest and that what they do immediately could save a life.


“The squad members were lovely people and the presentation style was clear and thorough, yet concise,” says Greenleaf. “The large number of instructors who participated was impressive and provided us students with very helpful individual attention. It was refreshing to participate in a class where I truly felt like the focus was on ensuring the class learned the skills successfully, rather than a rush for staff to see how quickly they could get through the class material so that everyone could leave as soon as possible.”

The AHFAS is an all-volunteer emergency medical services organization that responds to emergency calls around-the-clock, 365 days a year. The organization operates only on generous donations from the borough and residents. For more information on the AHFAS or how to help by becoming a member, or through financial support, call the non-emergency number of (732) 291-8118. Follow the AHFAS on Facebook and Twitter, and online at


“I know all of the instructors had a lot of fun teaching the class and meeting our neighbors,” Hayden said. “Plans are already underway to hold another session in the spring. The more people we can train to perform CPR the better it will be for everyone in the borough.”

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