National CPR and AED Awareness Week highlights training importance

By Eric Alves, Regional Communications Specialist, American Red Cross of Northeast Ohio

June 5, 2019- Today, people are used to seeing online news articles mentioning the tongue-and-cheek national holiday being celebrated that day, like National Cheese Pizza Day on September 7, National Old Stuff Day on March 2 or National Lipstick Day on July 29. Usually when we learn about these random celebrations, we often roll our eyes or chuckle and move on, but we often can miss when a day or week of true importance is upon us.

This week, the United States is celebrating National CPR and AED Awareness Week. In 2007, understanding the importance of proper CPR and Automated External Defibrillator (AED) training and usage to save the lives of Americans, Congress unanimously passed a resolution making June 1-7 a yearly week of awareness.

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The American Red Cross offers many opportunities to gain training in these valuable lifesaving skills. Visit www.redcross.org/take-a-class to find in-person, online and simulated classes near you.

If you opt for in-person training, you will have the opportunity to practice your new skills on the BigRed™ LightSaving Manikin. The state of the art manikin will increase a student’s confidence that they can save a life in emergency situations, as it is equipped with three interrelated sets of lights that provide immediate feedback to students on how they are performing CPR. Only the proper technique will show the success of blood circulating from the heart to the brain which improves a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.

CPR Classroom Stock Video and Photography Shoot 2018

Sharon Nicastro of Independence, Ohio is an individual who is familiar with Red Cross training and the importance of every person being prepared to help save a life.

Sharon has been a Red Cross CPR and first aid instructor in Northeast Ohio for 28 years. In fact, her role as a Red Cross instructor and seeing firsthand the impact it has on saving lives, led her to becoming an EMT.

For those who want to be CPR and AED trained but are on the fence because they are concerned it will have no impact on saving a life, Sharon has a few words of encouragement.

“It is important for people to learn CPR because bystanders can recognize that someone is suffering a cardiac emergency, call 9-1-1, perform CPR, and use an AED in the minutes before EMS arrives,” stated Sharon. “The care provided in those few minutes is just as critical as the care provided by EMS and hospital personnel. Those few minutes can mean the difference between life and death.”

Sharon

Sharon Nicastro

Jan and John Durkalski’s story highlights Sharon’s point.

Jan and John were on a run together when John suffered a sudden cardiac arrest and collapsed. Jan used her recent CPR training to help save her husband’s life.

Watch the below video to learn more about the Durkalski’s story and the importance of CPR/AED training:

You can download the free Red Cross First Aid App which puts instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies, including sudden cardiac arrest, at your fingertips. Download by searching for ‘American Red Cross’ in your app store or at redcross.org/apps.

Join the Red Cross in celebrating National CPR and AED Awareness Week by signing up for a training class today!

A hero saves a life with CPR

Honored with National Certificate of Merit

By Jim McIntyre, American Red Cross

March 29, 2019 – Three weeks.  That’s the amount of time that elapsed between Sheila Burke’s certification for American Red Cross Adult First Aid/CPR/AED, and the incident that required her intervention.

Three weeks after receiving her certificate for learning the lifesaving skill in 2018, Sheila found herself performing CPR on a woman who had overdosed on drugs.  It happened at Monarch House, a sober living environment dedicated to women in recovery from addiction.  Monarch House is part of Recovery Resources, where Sheila was an employee.

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Sheila Burke

“I never thought I’d ever use CPR in my lifetime, and there I was, three weeks after taking the course,” she said prior to a recent meeting of the Board of Directors of the Red Cross Greater Cleveland Chapter.  She was invited to attend the meeting and to receive the American Red Cross Certificate or Merit, the highest award given by the Red Cross to an individual or team of individuals who saves or sustains a life by using skills and knowledge learned in a Red Cross Training Services course.

The certificate bears the signature of the President of the United States, who is the honorary chairman of the Red Cross, and the signature of the chair of the American Red Cross.

The certificate was accompanied by a citation, which reads, in part, ” Ms. Burke was taking part in a meeting when she was witness to a woman starting to lose consciousness in her chair.  Ms. Burke jumped into action and ran to the victim to check for signs of life. The woman has stopped breathing, did not have a pulse and was turning blue.   After assessing the situation, Ms. Burke instructed a bystander to call 9-1-1.  She started to perform CPR.  Ms. Burke had suspected an overdose of drugs and asked a bystander to retrieve a dose of Naloxone, which was administered.  The woman appeared to regain color and signs of life.”

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Greater Cleveland Chapter Board Chair Chris Mapes, left, Sheila Burke, and Mike Parks

“We are honored to recognize Sheila for her quick-thinking and decisive action,” said Mike Parks, Regional CEO of the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio.  “She is a testament to the value of every person learning First Aid and CPR, and how to use an AED.”

Red Cross courses are listed on our website.  You may also call 1-800-RED CROSS for information on First Aid/CPR/AED, Lifeguard, Swimming, and Babysitting courses.

Photo credit: Doug Bardwell, American Red Cross volunteer

 

Greater Cleveland Heroes Honored

It’s fitting, but not intentional, that National Good Samaritan Day fell the day before we honored Greater Cleveland Heroes.

The day is also known as Good Samaritan Involvement Day. It is a day for unselfish actions to help those in need and to celebrate kindness.

The term “Good Samaritan” comes from the Bible parable where a Samaritan helped a stranger who had been robbed and beaten and left to die by the side of the road.  The Samaritan not only cleaned the man’s wounds and clothed him, but took him to an inn where he paid for the man’s care.

The term is used today to describe those who perform acts of kindness for those in need, especially those who are strangers.  Like the seven individuals we honored on March 15.

About 500 people attended the 2018 Greater Cleveland Heroes Award ceremony at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland, where the Cleveland Indians received the Community Leader Award.  See our photo album of the event here.

In a nutshell…

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Patrolman Christopher Olup and Sergeant Robert Prochazka

Patrolman Christopher Olup and Sergeant Robert Prochazka of the Willowick Police Department risked their own lives to enter a burning house and pull a disabled man to safety.

 

 

 

Nurse Janine Smalley of the Cleveland VA Medical Center volunteered to treat thousands of veterans in Puerto Rico following the devastation of Hurricane Maria.

Gilbert DiSanto of Miceli Dairy used an AED and performed CPR to save the life of a man who had collapsed near the company’s headquarters in Cleveland.

 

 

Dana Walling was a customer at Classic BMW in Willoughby Hills when he helped two wounded police officers subdue a gunman.

Jared Lee of the MetroHealth System improvised by using the drawstring from his scrubs as a tourniquet on a severely injured victim of a car crash.

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John and Jan Durkalski

Jan Durkalski performed CPR and ran for help after her husband collapsed during a run in the Cleveland Metroparks, saving his life.

These seven individuals are the very definition of “Good Samaritans,” and we are proud to honor them for their selfless acts.

See our heroes tell their stories in their own words here.

We honored 12 Heroes earlier this month in Akron, at the 2018 Acts of Courage awards in the Summit, Portage and Medina Counties Chapter.  And coming in June, the Acts of Courage awards in Youngstown will honor heroes from our Lake to River Chapter.

 

 

Ordinary People Honored for Taking Extraordinary Action

Recognized with Highest Award the Red Cross Offers

Lifesavers.  When we hear that word, we think of surgeons, firefighters, police officers, lifeguards.

Add teacher and massage therapist to the list.

Two people who have been certified by the Red Cross for their lifesaving skills have now been honored after putting those skills to use.

Certificates of Merit were awarded to Natasha Alexander-Cooley and Molly O’Donnell.  The certificates, signed by President Barack Obama, cite their “selfless and humane action in sustaining a life.”  They are the highest award given by the Red Cross to someone who sustains or saves a life by using the skills learned during Red Cross training.

Natasha, an educator at Tremont Montessori School in Cleveland, was honored for saving the life of a choking student, by performing several abdominal thrusts until food was dislodged from the choking boy’s throat.

Molly, a licesned massage therapist and trained First Aid/CPR/AED instructor, was cited for her efforts to save the life of her Instructor Trainer, who suffered cardiac arrest prior to the start of their class earlier this year.

“The Red Cross trains people to react to emergency situations, and these individuals did exactly what they were trained to do,” said Charlotte Rerko, Regional COO and a Registered Nurse.   “It was an honor to present these awards to them.”

Charlotte was also honored with a Certificate of Extraordinary Personal Action.  She also responded to the stricken CPR Instructor.

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Mike Parks, Charlotte Rerko and Shawn Riley

The awards were presented by Mike Parks, Regional CEO, and Shawn Riley, Board Chair, during the quarterly meeting of the Greater Cleveland Chapter Board of Directors on Thursday, December 8.  There’s a photo gallery from the meeting on the Greater Cleveland Chapter Facebook page.

The Red Cross teaches not only First Aid/CPR/AED, but also Basic Life Support, Babysitting and Childcare, and Lifeguarding.  Go to redcross.org/take-a-class to learn these live saving skills.  You may be called on someday to take extraordinary action in order to save a life.

Famed Speaker Makes Jubilant Return

Thanks Responders Who Performed CPR, Used an AED, Saved His Life

“You guys saved my life. It doesn’t get any better than that!”

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Dr. Stephen Sroka

Those were the first words uttered by Dr. Stephen Sroka at the Medina Performing Arts Center on Friday morning, October 21, 2016, on the very stage where 9 months earlier, he died.

Dr. Sroka, President of Health Education Consultants and a popular speaker at professional educational and school safety conferences, suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed on January 15, 2016, while delivering a presentation on heroin use to the staff of the Medina City Schools.  Fortunately, two School Resource Officers and an associate principal were able to respond immediately.  All had received CPR/AED training.

“We were at the right place at the right time,” said Officer Mike Wesner. “I mean we were there within seconds.”

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School Resource Officers Al Roland, left, and Mike Wesner with Dr. Stephen Sroka on Octiber 21, 2016

Officer Wesner retrieved an automated external defibrillator (AED) while Officer Al Roland performed CPR. Associate Principal Andy Brenner, who had received AED training just two weeks earlier, administered the shock that restarted Sroka’s heart.

He has returned to the lecture circuit, but Dr. Sroka’s message now includes support of CPR and AED training, such as that offered by the American Red Cross.

Log onto redcross.org, click on Training and Certification, and enter your zip code to find a list of classes, times and locations.  Classes are also available for groups, organizations and companies.   Call Phil Ormandy at 216-426-5080 for more information.

“It saves lives,” Stephen Sroka notes. “I can attest from my still beating heart.”

Red Cross Volunteers Credited with Saving Man’s Life

Performed CPR, Used AED to Save a Man at the Wayne County Fair

Farm animals. Funnel cakes. First Aid.

All are traditions of the Wayne County Fair.

The Red Cross has been providing first aid to fair goers for more than 60  years, as a service to the community.  This year, that service helped save at least one life.

A man attending the fair on Monday, September 12, suffered cardiac arrest and collapsed. Red Cross first aid workers rushed to perform CPR. They also applied a newly-acquired AED (automated external defibrillator) while awaiting the arrival of Wayne County EMS personnel.

The man survived.  “The ER staff said the Red Cross saved his life, as there was no way he would have made it if he had to wait for the squad to reach him inside the fairgrounds,” said Lara Kiefer, Executive Director of the Lake Erie/Heartland Chapter.

Captain Doug Hunter of the Wayne County Sheriff’s office also credited the Red Cross crew, in a video posted on Facebook.  Capt. Hunter said, ” I want to recognize the life-saving efforts of the representatives of the Wayne County Red Cross.” He continued,
“They frantically started doing what they are trained to do and tried to revive this man.”  He went on to describe the use of the AED.  “It was not looking good folks. I had pretty much written this man off as not going to survive, but they kept going.”

Captain Hunter also credits a nurse from the Wooster Community Hospital for assisting.

“It was truly a remarkable moment,” Captain Hunter said, in describing the moment the man first showed signs of life. “The people from the Red Cross at the Wayne County Fairgrounds saved this man’s life.”

Most first aid requests involve far less serious ailments, but the service provided by the Red Cross was deemed so important, a facility was built on the fairgrounds for use as a first aid station during the run of the fair every year.

About 120,000 people attend the Wayne County Fair, and the Red Cross provides first aid service free of charge.  Red Cross first aid workers respond to 200-300 incidents each year.  Taxpayer money is saved, by reducing the number of calls made to 911.

Our first aid service at the fair has been valued at approximately $20,000.

But for the man who suffered cardiac arrest on Monday, no value can be placed on the life-saving skills of the Red Cross first aid responders.

You can learn the same life-saving skills employed by the Red Cross by taking a class, to learn First Aid, CPR and AED. Training for other skills, such as babysitting and swimming and water safety are also offered. Go to redcross.org/takeaclass.

Photo credit: Mary Williams/American Red Cross

A Month of Preparedness, sneak peek into September at the Red Cross of Northeast Ohio

One piece of the mission of the American Red Cross is to prevent human suffering in the face of emergencies. The simplest way to do that is to help individuals and families learn how to be prepared for the disasters that happen in our communities. When a disaster strikes, because it can and will happen, everyone will have the tools and knowledge to respond accordingly.

The month of September is National Preparedness Month. For the Red Cross and many of our partner organizations, September is the perfect opportunity to voice the power of being prepared in our homes and in our communities.

There are so many simple, quick ways to prepare for an emergency situation.

  1. Check your smoke detectors once a month and change the battery at least once a year.
  2. If you don’t have smoke detectors, install them. One in every bedroom, one outside of sleeping areas and one on every level of your home. (NOTE: carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors are not the same thing.)
  3. Make a Fire Escape Plan and teach it to every member of the household.
  4. Practice your plan twice a year.
  5. Know what emergencies can affect your area: Flooding, Tornadoes, etc.
  6. Create a 72-hour Emergency Kit filled with necessities to keep your family safe and sound for 3 days.
  7. Take a first aid and CPR course.
  8. Download the FREE Red Cross Apps through iOS or Android app marketplaces.
  9. Make your neighbors part of your emergency plan (and you become a part of theirs), especially if they are older adults or have young children in the home.

All September long, our blog will be dedicated to details ways that you can get your family prepared, so be sure to subscribe or check back often.

If you are regular reader of this blog or just happened here through Google, please, share this link with your friends and colleagues. It is vitally important that we help ourselves and each other before an emergency situation happens.