American Red Cross launches first aid for opioid overdoses course

New online training helps people respond to opioid overdoses and save lives

The American Red Cross has launched First Aid for Opioid Overdoses – an online course to teach people how to respond to a known or suspected opioid overdose.

The 45 minute course contains content on how to identify the signs and symptoms of a suspected opioid overdose and the appropriate care to provide based on the responsiveness of the person. Information on how to use several different naloxone products – including a nasal atomizer, Narcan Nasal Spray, and EVZIO – to temporarily reverse the effects of an opioid overdose is also included.

People can register and access the course at https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/opioidoverdose. Because an opioid overdose can lead to cardiac arrest, people are also encouraged to take a Red Cross CPR/AED course.

“An opioid overdose is a life-threatening emergency,” said Mike Parks, Regional CEO of the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio.  “When you suspect an opioid overdose, it’s important to start providing care immediately.”

Recently, the Red Cross had the opportunity to share its commitment and efforts to help address this public health crisis at a White House opioids event. Learn more about the event, and the involvement of the Red Cross here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/articles/year-historic-action-combat-opioid-crisis/

The Red Cross has also prepared guidance on opioid use and overdose response for those working in the organization’s shelters during disasters. Recently, these efforts empowered a Red Cross volunteer to help save the life of a person in a shelter during Hurricane Florence.

Hurricane Florence 2018

In addition to the new First Aid for Opioid Overdoses online course, this is the first year Red Cross disaster shelters are arming staff and volunteers with information and supplies to help ensure that everyone stays safe in the case of an opioid overdose. During Hurricane Florence, Julian Delgado with Health Services explains to volunteers how to administer these supplies for residents who may need them in shelters. Photo by Daniel Cima/American Red Cross.

“Residents staying at Red Cross shelters often reflect the demographics of the general population,” said Parks, who worked in shelters in North Carolina during the Hurricane Florence disaster relief operation.  “Volunteer shelter workers who are trained to provide treatment when an overdose is suspected will no doubt save more lives in the future.”

 

 

Red Cross Responds to Richmond Heights Apartment Fire

After spending a second night in an American Red Cross shelter at Richmond Heights High School, Tracy Foster felt relieved.

“Every one of my needs have been met.  I’ve been able to shower, feed my cat, and got breakfast lunch and dinner.”

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Foster is one of the residents of the Loganberry Ridge Apartments who stayed in the shelter, after dozens were chased from their homes by fire on Friday, July 20, 2018.  Because of the potential need to provide lodging for so many people, the Red Cross established the shelter with the assistance of Richmond Heights Local Schools.

Most residents found alternative lodging arrangements.  But on Friday night, nine residents took shelter in the school.

Red Cross partners at the Salvation Army supplied dinner on Friday night, and the Cleveland Animal Protective League delivered supplies for the dog and two cats the residents brought with them. Pets that aren’t service animals aren’t normally permitted in a Red Cross shelter, but Richmond Heights school officials made an exception.

“It means everything to me to have my love here with me,” Tracy said of her cat Diamond.  “She’s a house cat.  She’s always home.  The fact that the shelter made it possible for her to have her own little home here has made her much more comfortable with the devastation we’re going through.”

It is not known when the residents will be able to return to their homes. But until then, the Red Cross is committed to providing shelter for all in need.

See more photos of our response and shelter operation here.

“The people who are here are awesome,” said shelter manager Sue Wisdom. “They’re a great group of people.  They’re very caring and appreciative of everything the Red Cross is doing for them.”

While partners often help with meals, most of the food provided to residents is supplied by the Red Cross. Combined with the cost of training volunteer shelter workers, the cots and blankets supplied to shelter residents, transportation, storage and logistics costs, the expenses add up.  That’s why donations to the Red Cross are so important.  A $50 donation can provide a full day of food and shelter for one person, including three meals, a cot, two blankets, and a comfort kit as well as the costs to support the Red Cross workers providing this needed service.

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Shelter volunteers Monica Bunner and Sue Wisdom consult with a resident at the shelter at Richmond Heights High School on Sunday, July 22, 2018.

Donations can be made by visiting the Red Cross website, or by calling 1-800-RED CROSS.

The Loganberry Ridge residents had to move out of the high school on Sunday – due to previous commitments there.  They were resettled nearby, at the Christian Assembly Church, where the same five residents stayed again Sunday night. And fortunately for Tracy, she was able to keep her beloved Diamond by her side.

“I’m very grateful to the Red Cross for putting me AND my cat up for as long as we need to be.  The people are very kind.  Very warm and helpful.”