CPR Instructor Jim Self, right, works with a youth offender during CPR training at Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp.

CPR Instructor Jim Self, right, works with a youth offender during CPR training at Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp.

By Joe Orlando, CDCR Public Information Officer
Office of Public and Employee Communications

Youth offenders at the Pine Grove Youth Conservation Camp (PGYCC) play a critical role in helping firefighting efforts across the state every year, and they recently learned a new life-saving skill that will better prepare them when they are out in the field.

A youth firefighter learns infant CPR.

A youth firefighter learns infant CPR.

The PGYCC offered a full-day of training for cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), teaching participants how to identify situations that may require the use of CPR. The training was led by N.A. Chaderjian Youth Correctional Facility CPR instructors Jim Self, a Youth Correctional Counselor; Maria Mendoza, a Parole Agent; and Sgt. Angelo Haro, a Youth Correctional Officer.

“These guys are often on the fire lines, and medical assistance might not be close by, so when something happens, they’ll have the training to react quickly,” said Self.

The youth offenders were taught what to do if someone is confused, disoriented, slurring their speech, having chest discomfort, experiencing shortness of breath or choking.  They also learned proper techniques.

Will, a youth firefighter who is a lead on one of the four fire crews, said, “They taught me steps to take, how to do chest compressions on children and adults, how to count my compressions, when to breathe into the nose and mouth, and what to look for if one of the guys on my crew goes down.”

Judy Levenson and Madeline Voss, both teachers at PGYCC, also took the CPR training.

“You never know when you have to save a life,” Voss said. “I can now say that if we ever had a situation that needed CPR, we have a lot of students that can step in and help.”

After the training, participants took a written test to officially receive their certification. The youth offenders and teachers are now CPR-certified for a year.

CPR Instructor Maria Mendoza grades written exams for CPR training at Pine Grove YCC.

CPR Instructor Maria Mendoza grades written exams for CPR training at Pine Grove YCC.