Be My Valentine – I Could Save Your Life!

By Rena Large, Volunteer, Citizen CPR Leader

With Valentine’s Day approaching, who isn’t thinking about people they love and the things we do to show them we care?

Maybe it’s not exactly what you had in mind, but one thing I do for the people I love is staying up to date on my CPR and First Aid certification. In my earlier years it was sometimes a requirement – as a babysitter, a camp counselor, a life guard – and later it seemed like a good idea as someone who cared for friends and family members and likes to be prepared for anything.

First Aid for Cleveland

Graphic provided by Doug Bardwell/American Red Cross Volunteer

Speaking of hearts…We all probably know someone who has had a cardiac emergency (maybe even witnessed it happen). Most out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen in homes, and CPR – especially if performed in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest – can double or triple a person’s chance of survival. That’s one of the reasons I love Citizen CPR – a free non-certification program that teaches untrained bystanders to perform hands-only compressions, a simple skill that can keep vital blood and oxygen flowing in a cardiac emergency until trained responders arrive. Performing hands-only compressions is easy to remember and doesn’t require mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths or certification (something that deters some people) – all it requires is willingness to act!

Volunteer Citizen CPR Instructor Rena Large teaches MetroHealth employees lifesaving skills.  Photo credit: Jim McIntyre/American Red Cross

Being a volunteer Citizen CPR instructor in my community is one of the most rewarding things I do. Sometimes people are nervous about the idea – I always hear stories of people witnessing someone having a heart attack at a family reunion or work event and being afraid they will do something wrong if they try to help. Giving them the opportunity to see the skill and practice it takes the mystery away and gives people the confidence that they can do this in an emergency. It means so much to me that I know and can teach others how to save a life. If you aren’t CPR certified, take a moment to learn how to do hands-only compressions; or think about offering a Citizen CPR event in your community or workplace. It might be the most important gift you give this Valentine’s Day and all year long.

Another Successful Save-a-Life Saturday

Would you know how to save someone’s life if they dropped to the ground in front of you?

Thanks to our ongoing partnership with the Cleveland Clinic Akron General, over 30 community members now know how to perform hands-only CPR.

Learning cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR for short, is a vital skill. The Red Cross has set a goal of having one person in every household able to perform CPR. Through programs like Save-a-Life Saturday (which is held annually) and our free Citizen CPR courses, we are well on our way!

Here is a quick video that demonstrates how to perform CPR:



To learn more about our Citizen CPR course, contact your local chapter. For a complete listing of First Aid and CPR certification courses near you, visit


Photos: Mary Williams/American Red Cross


Two Hands, One Heart

Thirty-eight members of the Cleveland Sight Center’s Winners Club attended a Citizen Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) course taught by Red Cross volunteers and staff members on Tuesday, February 9. The club is comprised of Sight Center clients who meet monthly for an activity or speaker.

Photo credit: Mary Williams/American Red Cross Staff Member

The Red Cross has a goal of having at least one person per household that can perform CPR, should an emergency situation arise. Statistics show that nearly 85% of cardiac arrest cases happen at home. Most people who survive a cardiac emergency are helped by someone performing CPR.

Most bystanders to a cardiac arrest will site one of two reasons why they didn’t help: they didn’t know how to perform CPR, or they were concerned about performing mouth-to-mouth.

The Citizen CPR course taught by the Red Cross is  hands only CPR. Because it can help save lives, many health organizations advocate performing chest compression even without breathing assistance.

Hands only CPR is very easy to learn. If you have 2 minutes and 13 seconds, right now, you can learn by watching the video below or clicking on this link to view the YouTube video:

To see a list of first aid and CPR courses in your area, visit

American Red Cross Volunteers Teach WKYC Workers CPR

Part of the Station’s Safety Week Observance

First, a fire drill on live TV.  Then, Citizen CPR courses taught in the same studio used by the cast and crew of “Live on Lakeside” and Fox Sports Ohio.  It was all part of Safety Week activities initiated by Channel 3 and the American Red Cross.

During three separate sessions, trained Red Cross volunteers gave dozens of station employees the skills to help save lives by putting more cardiac arrest victims within a few steps of lifesaving assistance.

Volunteers Jerry and Diana Goodman, Beth Ann Barto, Pam Hendrix and Walter Reddick led the lessons on the hands-only technique, teaching TV 3 staffers to first check victims for consciousness, next to call 9-1-1, and then to give continuous chest compressions to patients experiencing cardiac arrest.

“Citizen CPR courses give untrained bystanders the ability to buy time for victims of cardiac arrest,” said Pat Buckhold, Director of Volunteer Services in Northeast Ohio. “Chest compressions can help keep a patient alive until trained medical help arrives.”

Pat led one of the sessions, explaining that the target is 100 chest compressions per minute.  “There are a few songs you can hum in your head to help you keep the proper pace,” she said.  “My favorite for this exercise is ‘Stayin’ Alive’ by the Bee Gees.”

The Citizen CPR courses followed a fire drill, held during a live broadcast of “Live on Lakeside.” It was meant to determine how responsive the staff of the TV station would be.  While employees filed out of the building, Mike Parks, CEO of the Northeast Ohio Region of the Red Cross joined Micki Byrnes to explain to the audience the importance of responding to fire alarms immediately.

The fire drill and the Citizen CPR courses at Channel 3 took part during National Preparedness Month. See our previous posts on being prepared for disasters.

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