Fire chief, T.C. Knight held an early morning meeting with his crew. Each was dressed in red sitting around the volunteer chairs with a cup of coffee

Mineral County Fire Chief T.C Knight teaches Hawthorne Elementary School students how to use a defibrillator kit in case of an emergency last Friday at the Hawthorne Fire Department. (Heidi Bunch photo)

Fire chief, T.C. Knight held an early morning meeting with his crew. Each was dressed in red sitting around the volunteer chairs with a cup of coffee, awaiting further instructions from the senior member.

“Coffee with Chief” would start the exercise of Hawthorne Elementary third graders, who had been learning about the human heart throughout the week. In support of Wear Red on Friday, Feb. 7, the students and their teacher, Mrs. Schumann, visited the Hawthorne Fire Department, educating themselves in what to do in case a loved one had an emergency; how to use a defibrillator kit and how to take instructions during an emergency.

In order to teach the students how to correctly make an emergency 911 call, guest speaker Sheriff Stewart Handte made an appearance and discussed what constitutes an emergency. In describing how the dispatching center works, he also stated that out of all 911 calls made nationwide, half are made by children.

Knight along with members of the Hawthorne Volunteer Fire Department instructed the students on how to hook up a defibrillator kit, with Knight first hooking it up to himself and later to a test dummy.

Each student, who had studied that heart disease, is the leading killer of women, participated in the CPR session of class, where they learned the correct technique on dummies provided by the fire dept. Each one practiced on an adult then later, a baby.

Prepared to keep the attention of the children, the information given to each was clear, concise and age appropriate. Most heart disease is preventable but only by taking a positive, healthy role in your own health, you can change the outcome of your life by exercising and eating right.

Who knows what twenty years will bring to these children who learned about the human heart over coffee with the fire chief on a Friday morning. Amongst them may be a future president; a world renowned surgeon or the one who finally cracks the code on heart disease.