Avera held a hands-on training event today for health care providers from seven different states, including Kansas, Montana and North Dakota. 

The training can help them save lives.

 “If you are not breathing, you are not living, so it is very, very important,” said Kansas Nurse Anesthetist Gary Hembd

Hembd is in Norton, KS. He volunteered to make the nearly 400-mile trip get some hands-on experience with the Avera Emergency Airway course.

 “Airway. Breathing. Circulation. You got to have air in the lungs, or else you don’t have life,” Hembd said.

Hembd says checking a person’s breathing is the very first thing any medical provider does when assessing someone’s health. Moments can mean the difference between life and death. But for smaller rural hospital, such cases aren’t all that common, which means providers can go months without practice. Hembd said that’s why events like this one are so important.

“Get your hands on these new equipment. Kind of just renew yourself,” Hembd said.

Medical providers had the opportunity to try new equipment on a computerized mannequin, that they might not  have at their own facility. New tools that could make their job’s easier.

“It’s just plug-and-go and start breathing for them. So, things are just getting easier and there’s always new technology, just everything is advancing,” Hembd said.

Avera eCARE Medical Director, Dr. Kelly Rhone, says the program is in it’s fourth year because there is such a need for this type of experience.

 “This really started with us wanting to make sure all of our providers really feel comfortable taking care of the those airways and knowing what the equipment  is and when it’s appropriate to do that procedure,” Rhone said.

Rhone adds the event is important because it makes sure everyone gets training from paramedics to RNA’s.

 “They may only do an airway a couple times a year and so it’s really important that we have hands-on learning and always practicing our skills,” Rhone said.

The Avera eCare Emergency Airway Management Program is not required for doctors or other medical personal to maintain their certifications. It’s strictly a volunteer course that professionals can take to practice their skills.

The story has been updated to reflect the correct title of Gary Hembd.