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Jerkins handy in an emergency

Neil Jerkins is the person you would want to have around in case of medical emergencies. Sgt. Jerkins is an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with the Brewton Fire Department.

He also teaches CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) classes to those who may want to learn more about this life-saving technique.

“During some situations, knowing how to perform CPR and using AEDs (Audimated External Defibrillator) can be the difference between life and death,” Jerkins said. “When a person stops breathing, it is vital that someone performs CPR as quickly as possible. Firefighters are trained in the procedure, but anyone can be taught how to do it.

“Only about 10 percent of those who don’t have CPR survive and with every minute, that number goes down,” he added. “The city has provided 26 new AEDs to be placed around town in some public buildings as well as in each firefighter vehicle.”

For those who are interested in attending one of Jerkins’ classes call the fire department at 867-7165. The class lasts two hours and the cost is $25 to become certified in this procedure.

Jerkins was born in Mobile and raised in Brewton. He attended school in East Brewton and graduated from W.S. Neal High School in 2002. He received his associate’s degree in architectural design

at Jefferson Davis Community College

in 2005, and went to work in Greenville in heavy timber design.

“I worked during the time I was in school, too, but when the economy got so bad, I lost my job,” he said. “I had been working as a volunteer firefighter so I went to fire college in Tuscaloosa and then to Lurleen B. Wallace Community College to take my classes to be certified as an EMT.”

He came to work at the Brewton Fire Department in 2016.

“I really like my job,” he said. “I like helping people and it is very rewarding to know that I might save a life. “I work 24 hours on here in Brewton and 24 hours off and then I go to Andalusia to work on the ambulance service,” he added. “I like getting out in the community and helping. To be a good firefighter, you have to have a passion for it.”

Jerkins and his wife, Jennifer, were married in 2004 and they have five daughters, MacKenzie (12), Emalee (10), Ali Brooke (7), Callie (4) and Aubree who is soon turning two. Jennifer has an education degree, and she is using her skills to home-school their daughters.