Donor provides valuable training gear for area first responders

CPR and first aid equipment will be useful to area fire departments

CPR and first aid training gear is being held by the Backus Fire Department for the benefit of all area agencies after the gear was donated by a man from Lake Elmo. Travis Grimler / Echo Journal

When Steve Heinz, of Lake Elmo, decided to get out of the CPR and first aid training business, he first considered donating his supplies to a large fire station in the metro area. Then he thought about a little community he knew up north.

"I've been a CPR instructor for almost 25 years and for the last few years have had a business of my own with a friend," Heinz said. "That ended up dissolving and it got to the point I didn't want to go through the recertification process again. I had all this equipment and thought I should really donate it to someone that could use it. It just so happens that my wife's sister and her husband have a cabin in Backus on Pine Mountain Lake."

Heinz realized that groups in the metro area had more options for rental of training equipment, so departments in the area surrounding Backus would benefit more from having these items nearby.

"It's not like you can't find equipment in the metro area," Heinz said. "Somebody's got something available. It's a lot harder sometimes when you get into the upstate area, and it just made sense."

There is enough equipment to stock an entire class.


"There are 10 adult CPR mannequins, four infant mannequins and three AED (automated external defibrillator) trainers for teaching people to use defibrillators," Heinz said.

The equipment will be useful for training in CPR, AED use and even some first aid classes. Some of the items had been used for training day care owners and dentists for pediatric emergencies. They won't just be for the Backus crew either. The equipment was donated with the specific intention that it be available to crews in the surrounding area as well.

"My plan is to keep the trainers all together to be able to pass them around to all other agencies in our area to use as training tools," said Backus Fire Chief Jason Smith. "CPR training is something that's needed every couple years."

Travis Grimler may be reached at 218-855-5853 or Follow him on Facebook and on Twitter at

Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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