The Waveland Fire Department and the non-profit Community Partnership of the Greater Gulf Coast are working together to create a free non-certified CPR training program for the public.

Thanks to a generous donation from a long-time CPR instructor, the non-profit Community Partnership of the Greater Gulf Coast (CPGGC) and the Waveland Fire Department are teaming up to offer free non-certified CPR training to the public.

“This is a project that’s near and dear to my heart,” CPGGC-founder Rhonda Gamble said Wednesday.

Long-time CPR instructor Emma Johnson on Wednesday donated thousands of dollars worth of training equipment to the CPGGC at the fire department to help implement the program, including Automated External Defibrillators, several CPR mannequins — both adult and child, practice and safety equipment, training masks, workbooks, lung bags, training videos and software and much more.

Johnson has been a certified CPR instructor for decades, and previously worked for Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College and Pearl River Community College. For the past several years, she has worked with her motor home club, the Cruisin’ Cajun chapter of the Family Motor Coach Association, to instruct people on how to administer CPR and resuscitate victims.

“I just love doing it,” Johnson said. “I think there’s a need for it. I’ve trained a lot of people, and it’s been very rewarding."

Learning how to properly administer CPR “isn’t for yourself,” she said. “It’s for your mother at home or your child in the swimming pool.”

Waveland Mayor Mike Smith on Wednesday thanked Johnson for the donation, and thanked Gamble for helping to put the program together.

Smith, who was the Waveland fire chief before he was elected as the city’s mayor, also trained people in CPR techniques over the years.

“I think this is a tremendous donation,” Smith said. “It’s going to allow us to offer a community service program to teach people who are interested in learning CPR and the Heimlich maneuver. As soon as we get it set up, we will be working in conjunction with the CPGGC to get these classes going.”

In addition to the CPR training program, Gamble said, the CPGGC is working on a program to assist senior citizens.

Gamble said the plan was akin to the Hancock County CASA (Court-Appointed Special Advocate) program.

“They have advocates who go into the home to assist children,” Gamble said. “Of course, they’re court-appointed and we aren’t, but it would work the same way. Our advocates would go in to assist the elderly. … For instance, advanced technology is very challenging for some older people. They have issues navigating an increasingly technological world, and our advocates would help them with that.”

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