Citizens Academy touches on personal safety, preventing home invasion

MARQUETTE — Having the proper knowledge of how to respond when someone is experiencing a medical emergency could mean the difference between life and death.

Whether it’s assisting at the scene of a car crash or helping a loved one who is choking, a few basic skills could change the outcome of a potentially fatal situation.

During this week’s Citizens Academy session, Michigan State Police Trooper Matt Lequia covered the basics of first aid.

Should someone come across a person that is injured or unconscious, the first step should be to size up the scene to avoid becoming a victim themselves.

“If you come across something, you see something or someone that might need medical attention, you want to look and see what’s going on,” he said. “You don’t want to rush into it.”

Depending on the severity of the person’s injuries or condition, summoning more advanced medical personal, usually through a phone call to 911, is also one of the immediate actions that should be taken, he said.

Lequia, who serves as the Negaunee post’s first aid instructor, advised academy attendees of the ABCs — which stands for airway, breathing and circulation — that should be followed when resuscitating a person.

“It’s like a 10-second observation window,” he said, adding that the victim’s pulse should also be checked. “Look, listen and feel.”

Another thing to check for, Lequia said, is severe bleeding.

To control bleeding and reduce further blood loss, direct pressure should be applied to the wound. Do not remove bandages if they soak through, he said, as it can destroy the blood clot the body forms, leading to continued or prolonged bleeding. Instead, layer more bandages on top.

Lequia demonstrated how to use a tourniquet, a device that constricts or compresses circulation to stop bleeding. Attendees were also able to try on and test out the devices.

CPR was also addressed during the first aid portion of Wednesday’s session. For every 30 chest compressions, two ventilations, or mouth-to-mouth breaths, should be given.

Recognizing the signs of cardiac arrest, as well as the proper way to use an AED, or automated external defibrillator, to reinstate a regular heart rhythm was also covered, as well as step-by-step instructions for performing the maneuver to clear an obstructed airway in choking incidents.

Lequia said MSP troopers carry AED and first aid supplies in their patrol cars, and are certified in first aid. Each officer also is required to complete an annual refresher training to maintain their skill set.

During the second half of class, Trooper Stacey Rasanen talked about personal safety and preventing home invasions.

In seemingly safe, rural areas like the Upper Peninsula, many people don’t think twice about leaving their doors unlocked.

But Rasanen said securing entrances, even when home, is the best way to prevent a break-in.

Reinforcing basic locks with a sturdier option, maintaining close relationships with neighbors, activating a home alarm system and making sure the area around a home is well lit can also help to prevent home invasions.

If a person is home and an intruder manages to get inside, Rasanen said there are three options.

“Run, hide or fight,” she said.

In Marquette County, Rasanen said one of the major factors contributing to breaking and entering incidents is substance abuse.

“In our area, some of the things that are driving (home invasions) is drug addiction,” Rasanen said. “They’re often looking for narcotics or for things they can sell to get money for their drug habit.”

Taking photographs or recording the serial numbers of valuable items could also help lead to their recovery if taken, she said.

Next week, Trooper Rex Lewis, who serves as an accident investigator, will present on traffic safety.

Kelsie Thompson can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 206. Her email address is