Eaton Rapids couple works to educate community on life-saving skills

By Carla Bumstead

Editor

Aljan DeWaele of Eaton Rapids has been seriously interested in saving lives since his days as a Boy Scout. From there — after years of training and multiple certifications — he and his wife have opened an emergency response training company aimed at teaching others how to knowledgeably respond in emergency situations.

“I started as an ‘explorer’ through Boy Scouts with the Lansing Fire Department when I was 14,” said Aljan, who grew up in Eaton Rapids. “We did ride-alongs on ambulances and got lots of good instruction.”

Knowing he wanted to make a career out of the emergency services field, Aljan went on to EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) school and received his EMT and fire fighter certification in 1992. He got his paramedic license in 1995 and was certified as an EMS (Emergency Medical Services) instructor in 2005. He served with the Eaton Rapids Township Fire Department for about eight years.

Aljan met his wife April three years ago. Together, they share four children ranging in ages from 8 to 12. The couple currently lives in Eaton Rapids Township.

April said her interest in emergency medical service and instruction came from her husband.

“My husband got me interested in it when we first met,” April said. “And once I got into it, I really loved it.”

April is now a certified EMT and fire fighter. She is also certified as an advanced emergency medical dispatcher.

“I have a major interest in educating the public about being prepared in the event of a medical emergency and want people to understand why it is so important,” April said.

Both Aljan and April currently work in the Detroit area — April as an EMT and Aljan as a paramedic. They make the long commute a couple times a week and on alternating weekends.

But last August, the couple began laying the ground work for opening their own emergency training company. In April of this year, they opened Emergency Response Solutions, Inc. at the Union Street Center in Eaton Rapids.

“We really felt there is a need here for education, and my wife and I have a big heart for this community,” Aljan said. “People don’t tend to think of emergency situations until they face one, and we want them to be prepared.”

Emergency Response Solutions currently offers a variety of American Red Cross courses — including CPR, First Aid and AED training for the general public. For professionals, they also offer BCLS (basic cardiac life support) training.

Aljan explained that “AED” stands for “automated external defibrillator,” and these small devices are being placed in many public locations throughout the nation — including churches, schools and shopping centers. The machines can be used by both lay people and professionals, but Aljan said it is important to receive proper training on how to use one effectively.

Aljan said the company’s overall goal is to train both the general public and professionals on the newest techniques that can help save lives.

“The technology is being updated all the time, and we want to encourage people to have as much information as possible,” he said. “The sooner you can start CPR on a person who is in cardiac arrest, the much better chance they have of surviving.”

He also explained many professional medical personnel need to be recertified on a regular basis, and he wants to make sure these people are up-to-date on all the latest information and techniques.

For example, the staff at Van Horn Island City Dentistry visited the DeWaeles this spring for CPR and First Aid training.

“Dentists and dental hygienists have to be CPR certified every two years,” said Ronda Van Horn, DDS. “But we offered the training to our entire staff.”

Van Horn said she was very pleased with the experience.

“I thought (Aljan DeWaele) and his wife were extremely knowledgeable,” Van Horn said. “I’ve been CPR certified for 38 years, and I’ve never taken a CPR course that was more informative.

“Their knowledge was so deep, and they were so enthusiastic about sharing.”

While Aljan and April primarily offer courses at their Union Street Center location, they are also more than willing to come out to a group or business and provide on-site training.

“Truly everyone can benefit from this kind of training — parents, babysitters, daycare providers, teachers, anyone who lives with the elderly — really anyone,” Aljan said.

Emergency Response Solutions can be reached by phone at (517) 515-2428. Appointments can be set up on demand, and they are able to work with any individual or group’s schedule. More information is available online at www.ersinc-us.com.

Courtesy photo The husband and wife team of Aljan and April DeWaele own and operate Emergency Response Solutions, Inc. in Eaton Rapids.

Courtesy photo
The husband and wife team of Aljan and April DeWaele own and operate Emergency Response Solutions, Inc. in Eaton Rapids.

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