“It stops the tongue from blocking the airway,” Vannarattanarat answered.
Chulick was teaching the lifesaving techniques on Wednesday to the adult students in his summer EMT class at Crescenta Valley High School. The class included students who want to become firefighters, nurses, doctors, EMTs or paramedics.
Airway and suctioning, which are two important skills in the repertoire of an EMT, were among the topics covered, Chulick said.
During the airway testing, students practiced inserting oropharyngeal airways into the mannequin’s throat and nasopharyngeal airways into the mannequin’s nose.
The two medical devices help patients experiencing a medical emergency get oxygen into their system.
The oropharyngeal airway device helps keep an unconscious patient’s tongue out of the way so that it doesn’t obstruct breathing, students said.
The nasopharyngeal airway device can be used to facilitate breathing for patients when they are conscious and have a gag reflex, students said.
The hands-on, interactive testing helps Chulick assess which EMT skills the students have mastered and which they still need to work on.
“They have to follow a certain technique, a certain order,” Chulick said.
At the end of August, students who pass the class can take the National Registry of Emergency Medical Technicians’ exam to become certified EMTs who are eligible to work in California, Chulick said.
It’s a challenging test, so Chulick makes his class rigorous in order to prepare his students, he said.
“I’m probably one of the toughest instructors out there when it comes to EMT,” he said.
The class covers basic applied sciences, human anatomy, administration of certain drugs, CPR techniques, airway techniques and vital signs, among other things, Chulick said.
“They should have a fairly decent knowledge of how to deal with public emergencies of any kind,” he said.
Bryan Soboleski, 18, who recently passed the airway-skills testing in the class and has aspirations to be a firefighter paramedic, found the class tough.
“But I know once we’ve passed, we’ll be able to assist paramedics easily,” Soboleski said.