American Heart Association names BCCC as a training center

Published 6:41 pm Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Beaufort County Community College will be stepping up its role in certifying and recertifying local employees for CPR after earning recognition as a training center from the American Heart Association. The college had operated as a satellite training center through Vidant Health. With the new designation, the college will grow the pool of instructors in the area to meet local needs.

“As a very extensive process,” said Billy Respess, director of EMS programs at BCCC. “They make sure that you can provide CPR training to not only the public, but the private sector. You have to be able to provide training for whoever asks.”

BCCC received notification in on Feb. 17 of its certification through AHA. As part of its application, the college had to demonstrate its leadership, client base, instructor base and proper facilities. Vidant wrote a letter of recommendation on behalf of the college as the company wanted to shift away from conducting CPR trainings.

The satellite training centers and processing certifications had become cumbersome for Vidant Health, which decided to focus more on training its own staff. This decision opened up the opportunity for BCCC to spin off as an independent training center. AHA also looked at the vast area served by the college — 2,100 square miles­­ — as part of the benefit of making BCCC a training center. The college will be able to train and hire more CPR instructors as part of the change.

The college can train up to 1,500 people a year from social service agencies, EMS departments, and all of the coaches, nurses and teachers working for Beaufort County Schools. Most of these trainings will still happen out in the community, so many CPR students will not see a difference in their instruction.

“When you open a training center, it’s a lot of responsibility because these people are being certified in a life-saving skill,” said Respess. “The certification is good for two years. We sign a contract with AHA that we will adhere to their guidelines, and we audit our classes to see that we are training to those standards.”

In order to grow its pool of certified instructors, the college is recruiting instructors from other training centers, but it also plans to offer classes regularly for people who would like to become instructors. Anyone who is interested in becoming a CPR instructor can contact Billy Respess at 252-940-6468.