Recently, the West Virginia University Safety and Health Extension’s Shirley M. Kimble Training Center was upgraded by the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources to an initial basic life support training center.

The upgrade means that the center can begin to offer classes to a wide variety of emergency medical responders. Those who specifically wish to become emergency medical technicians with basic or mine certifications can prepare for accreditation through the center.

According to Steven Doug McDonald, senior program coordinator at the center and a paramedic for more than 30 years, the ability to offer these classes supports a critical need in the region and aligns with the center’s mission of offering training programs that address the challenges of rural, emergency medicine.

“These trainings not only equip more career emergency responders in the field, but they also play a huge role in industries around the state,” he said. “Often, there are emergency personnel on staff at manufacturing plants, chemical plants and coal mines — by having this training they can help alleviate a critical situation before advanced life support arrives.”

He added that the classes will be available to everyone, and there are no prerequisites to enroll.

“It’s an opportunity for a variety of people — from high schoolers who are interested in a career in emergency medical response and volunteers who work with a variety of local emergency organizations to people looking for a career change,” he said. “The only thing required is a desire to serve the community.”

The center is working on partnerships with several local emergency medical service agencies to start offering the classes. McDonald will oversee adjunct instructors and facilitate when needed.

In addition to the initial basic life support classes, the center already offers continuing education classes for healthcare providers and prehospital professionals. Training is also offered to community members with little or no medical experience through the American Heart Association Heartsaver first aid, CPR and automated external defibrillator classes.

To learn more about all the classes the training center provides, visit or call 304-293-7527.



CONTACT: Zane Lacko, WVU Extension Service

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