Experiences lead pair to teach CPR

Dee Morris can tell story after story of family members who have been in life-threatening situations.

Her father suffered a heart attack on a snowmobile. Her son and a cousin choked on pieces of food. A nephew fell into a swimming pool as a baby.

Thanks to proper training for Morris and her relatives, all of those situations became tales of survival. They are part of Morris' motivation for Convenient CPR, a Wichita business she opened with another nephew, Jason Breitigan, in May.

"Because we had taken the classes and had the tools, we have members of our family that are alive today," Morris said. "It's very personal for us."

Morris, 44, has taught cardiopulmonary resuscitation classes for 23 years, first with Via Christi Health System and later with Interim Healthcare of Wichita. The daughter of two emergency medical technicians, Morris also teaches nursing students at Wichita State.

With Breitigan, 31, looking for a new career after working as a regional sales marketing manager for a West Coast-based firm, the two decided to launch their own business.

"Our main focus from the very beginning was that we wanted to provide a comfortable and relaxed training environment," Breitigan said. "If someone comes in and they're already scared, they're not going to retain that knowledge."

Convenient CPR offers group and individual classes. Some are taught at their business location near Wesley Medical Center. Morris and Breitigan also travel to homes and businesses to teach.

Authorized by the American Heart Association and American Red Cross, Convenient CPR's classes range from Advanced Cardiac Life Support for health care providers to Children's First Aid and CPR, a popular choice among daycare providers.

"We'll teach anybody from the age of 11 on up," Morris said. "The health care providers, they're going to come looking for us because their job requires it. The rest of the community, while it's not required, we do offer classes for them, too."

Convenient CPR has certified approximately 300 students since it opened. Breitigan said that while health care providers make up a large percentage of the business, he would like to see Convenient CPR work its way into churches and schools.

Breitigan and Morris will train people one at a time, as well. An emergency one-on-one CPR class is $50, while normal CPR classes are $35. Combined first aid and CPR training is $45.

"We've been known to drop everything and say, 'If you can get here in 30 minutes, we'll train you,' " Breitigan said. "We don't want anyone to go longer than necessary without having these skills.

"We do it gladly because of the examples we have in our family."