The Putnam County Red Cross Unit is gearing up for the first of several upcoming First Aid and CPR classes.
The first class for those interested in becoming certified for the classes is scheduled for 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday.
All classes the local unit will conduct will take place on the third Saturday of each month, lasting through December 2007.
The classes would not be taking place without some help, however.
The local unit -- under the direction of Christine Klinger -- recently applied for a $700 grant to upgrade First Aid and CPR equipment.
The unit managed to receive the grant through the Putnam County Community Foundation through the efforts of Eric Wolfe, Elaine Peck and Sue Murray.
"Classes are up and going again and that's a wonderful, fantastic thing for the program," Klinger said.
Klinger said the unit has been providing the classes, but the equipment used in the classes was at least 10 years old, including the class mannequins.
"It was difficult to train with those because they were so old," Klinger said.
However, with the $700 grant, the local unit managed to purchase two new adult mannequins and four infant mannequins, in addition to 10 plastic replacement faces.
The classes will be under the instruction of Sherry Wardlow, a local resident with at least six years of experience training. However, Klinger said this is the first time Wardlow will be training through the Red Cross.
"She's kind of new to the Red Cross family," Klinger said.
Wardlow said it only takes one class to become certified and once a person is trained properly, they receive a certification card.
Klinger said statistics show that nearly one million people across the country suffer from cardiac arrest, and that almost half of those will die, giving people more reason to become certified in First Aid and CPR.
An example she noted was how DePauw University women's assistant track coach Linda Scaggs saved a man's life at the DPU Indoor Tennis and Track Facility.
Klinger said Scaggs was certified in First Aid and CPR through the local Red Cross unit.
While taking the class, people will watch an instructional video prior to taking part in hands-on instruction from Wardlow.
Klinger said at least 200 Putnam County residents completed First Aid and CPR training in 2005 and that the Saturday class is nearly full.
For more information regarding the upcoming classes or about the local unit, call 653-4614.
The Putnam County Red Cross Unit is a member of the Wabash Valley Chapter, which also serves Clay, Greene, Parke, Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo counties.