The Twelve Days of Christmas

Preparing Families for Emergencies

By John Gareis, Regional Preparedness Manager

Most people believe that on the First Day of Christmas the appropriate gift to give is a Partridge in a Pear Tree. Well the American Red Cross believes in building Disaster Resilient Neighborhoods during the Holiday Season as well throughout the year.pear
To help you select stocking stuffers and Christmas gifts designed to make individuals, families and the homes they live in as safe as possible, the American Red Cross has put together the following recommendations for gifts for the Twelve Days of Christmas.

On the First Day of Christmas

On the First Day of Christmas, the Red Cross recommends that you install a Smoke AlarmSMOKE ALARM. Smoke alarms should be installed on every level of a home; outside bedrooms on the ceiling or high on the wall, at the top of open stairways and at the bottom of enclosed stairs and near (but not in) the kitchen. It is important to check your Smoke Alarms every month and replace their batteries annually. The life expectancy of ALL smoke alarms is 10 years – the sensors wear out.

On the Second Day of Christmas

On the Second Day of Christmas the Red Cross recommends that you install a CO2CARBON MONOXIDE ALARM. Carbon Monoxide Alarms should be placed in hallways throughout the home. They should also be placed in recreational vehicles and on boats.

extinguisherOn the Third Day of Christmas

On the Third Day of Christmas the Red Cross recommends that you install a FIRE EXTINGUISHER in your home. Install A-B-C type Fire Extinguishers in the home and teach all household members how to use them.

On the Fourth Day of Christmas

On the Fourth Day of Christmas the Red Cross recommends that you install aladder FIRE ESCAPE LADDER. Homes with more than one floor should have at least one Fire Escape Ladder stored on all floors, other than ground level. Store these ladders where they are easily accessible.

kitOn the Fifth Day of Christmas

On the Fifth Day of Christmas the Red Cross recommends that you assemble a FAMILY DISASTER SUPPLIES KIT. A family will cope best by preparing for emergencies before they occur. One way to prepare is by assembling a Family Disaster Supplies Kit. Once disaster hits, you won’t have time to shop and search for supplies.

On the Sixth Day of Christmas

petOn the Sixth Day of Christmas the Red Cross recommends that you assemble a PET SUPPLIES KIT. Pets enrich the lives of individuals and families in more ways than you can count. In turn they depend on people for their safety and well-being. Having a Pet Disaster Supplies Kit is one of the best ways to care for pets when disaster strikes.

On the Seventh Day of Christmas

On the Seventh Day of Christmas the Red Cross recommends that you acquire wxa WEATHER RADIO. As the voice of the National Weather Service, a Weather Radio provides continuous broadcasts of the latest weather information directly from a National Weather Service Forecast Office. During severe weather routine broadcasting is interrupted and special watch and warning messages are issued.

On the Eighth Day of Christmas

firstaidOn the Eighth Day of Christmas the Red Cross recommends that you get a FIRST AID KIT. Because the first five minutes of a medical emergency are critical, every individual and family should have a First Aid Kit in their home and vehicle and on your boat.

On the Ninth Day of Christmas

cprOn the Ninth Day of Christmas the Red Cross recommends that you attend FIRST AID AND CPR TRAINING. For more than a century, the Red Cross has been saving lives with Health and Safety Services education programs. A unique idea for a Christmas Stocking would be a Gift Certificate for a First Aid and CPR Training course.

On the Tenth Day of Christmas

On the Tenth Day of Christmas the Red Cross recommends that you purchasehouse numbers HOUSE NUMBERS. Each home should have its number posted clearly on the front door, over the doorway, or elsewhere on the front so emergency responders can easily locate it. Lives and property can be saved simply by adequate house numbers where emergency workers can find them as quickly as possible.

On the Eleventh Day of Christmas

flashOn the Eleventh Day of Christmas the Red Cross recommends that you purchase a FLASHLIGHT. As simple as a Flashlight is, it can become a very important tool during and after disaster strikes. Every Family Disaster Supplies Kit should contain a Flashlight and spare batteries.

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas

On the Twelfth Day of Christmas the Red Cross recommends that you create an phoneEMERGENCY COMMUNICATION PLAN. Each home should have a list of Emergency Phone Numbers posted near the phone or in the front of a phone book.

For additional information on these and other safety tips visit:
http://www.redcross.org/news/article/7-fire-safety-tips-for-holiday-decorating-and-entertaining

 

Wife Performs CPR, Saves Husband’s Life

“You can’t leave me here.  I’m too young to be a widow. You can’t go,” Jan Durkalski pleaded.  Her husband John had just collapsed during a Sunday morning run and was struggling to breath.

Then, his breathing stopped.  So did his heart.

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John and Jan Durkalski

Jan and John were on a run together in the Cleveland Metroparks when John suffered sudden cardiac arrest and collapsed.  Jan had just renewed her cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) certification the day before, and the instructions were fresh in her mind when she began CPR on John.

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Jan and John Durkalski point to the spot where John collapsed during a run on January 22, 2017

“I never had to do live CPR before.  I just did it in class,” Jan explained.  “I walked away thinking ‘I’ll never have to do this.’ ”

Hear Jan and John tell the story in their own words by watching the video on our YouTube Channel.

It’s National CPR/AED Awareness Week and we are urging everyone to get trained on how to perform CPR and how to use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) so they can help during an emergency situation.

Many people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest die before getting to a hospital so every second counts. For every minute without defibrillation, a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chance of surviving drops. It is critical for as many people as possible to be trained to perform CPR and know how to use an AED until advanced help arrives.

Interested in getting trained? Find information on Red Cross classes here. Last year, nearly 50,000 people in Northeast Ohio enrolled in Red Cross first aid/CPR/AED classes.

“Sudden cardiac arrest claims the lives of thousands of people in this country every year,” said Mike Parks, Regional CEO. “National CPR/AED Awareness Week is the perfect time for people to get trained and help increase a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.”

John DurIMG_4382kalski not only survived, he is thriving.  He ran the 10K race at the Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon in May, and plans to continue running. “40 years and one heart attack.  Why quit now?”

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.

 

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.

CPR Instructor Honored for Saving a Life

Red Cross Honors Instructor Who Used His Training at the Cuyahoga County Fair

 

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Officer Jim Mikesina

Jim Mikesina is not a superhero.  He did, however, scale a wall at the Cuyahoga County Fair this year to assist man who was in need of immediate medical attention.

Officer Mikesina was providing security at the fair in August when a worker suffered cardiac arrest. The fallen man was on a carnival ride platform, and Jim took the most direct route to get to him…by climbing a wall adjacent to the platform.

Fortunately for the fair worker, Jim is a certified American Red Cross First Aid/CPR/AED instructor, and administered CPR immediately.  Coworkers estimate Jim applied chest compressions approximately 400 times before the emergency squad was able to get to get the victim into an ambulance.

The Cuyahoga County Agricultural Society recently honored Jim with a plaque, in recognition of his “Extraordinary lifesaving heroism in the line of duty.”

The Red Cross also recognized Jim with a Certificate of Appreciation, “For exerting extraordinary effort and utilizing your American Red Cross CPR training to alleviate the suffering of a fellow human being.”

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Officer Jim Mikesina is congratulated by Mike Parks, CEO, Northeast Ohio Region

“Officer Mikesina went above and beyond the call of duty to reach the victim so swiftly,” said Mike Parks, CEO of the Northeast Ohio Region. “His determination and his Red Cross training certainly paid off, as he was able to save a life that day.”

First Aid/CPR/AED training is available throughout Northeast Ohio.  Log onto redcross.org/neo and click “Training and Certification” at the top of the page to find a list of classes.

Who knows…maybe your instructor will be someone who has used his or her training to save a life, like officer James Mikesina did this year at the Cuyahoga County Fair.

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 redcross.org/takeaclass.

 

Photos: Mary Williams/American Red Cross

 

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

20th Annual Acts of Courage event in Akron a success!

We are so pleased to be able to honor those in our community who have acted courageously to save the life of another. Each of the stories we have presented at the annual Red Cross Acts of Courage in Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties over the past twenty years have inspired so many people to step up and do the same.

We continue to be amazed by these people.

This year the Red Cross presented the Acts of Courage award to ten individuals.  Whether saving a woman from a home fire, pulling a man from the wreckage of a car accident or performing an abdominal thrust to save a classmate, each of these honorees are so deserving of the recognition.

Here are their stories:

Colin Bues was recognized for performing abdominal thrusts to save the life of a classmate.

The self-described class clown, 9-year-old Weston Bauer was throwing cheese puffs into the air and catching them in his mouth during a classmate’s birthday party. One of these got lodged in his throat. Weston couldn’t breathe. He motioned that he was choking, but the other children thought he joking. Colin Bues, also 9-years-old, knew something was wrong. He ran to Weston and performed a quick abdominal thrust, the kind he had seen on a safety poster in the lunchroom at school. The puff went flying out of Weston’s mouth.

After confirming that Weston was okay, Colin threw the bag of cheese puffs in the trash. He was very pleased that he had helped his friend, but didn’t want it to happen again.

Edward Kocsis Jr. was recognized for saving a man following a car crash.

As Edward (Ed) Kocsis, Jr. and his fiancé were sitting at a red light, he noticed a car coming over the hill. It seemed like the driver was intent on rear-ending Ed, but at the last moment erratically pulled away. As the car drove past, Ed could see that the other driver was slumped over. The vehicle blew out a telephone pole and rolled.

“You see someone in trouble, and it’s just natural,” said Ed of his next move. “When you see something like that you don’t think, you just act.”

The driver side door was crushed, and through the window he could see that the driver’s head was twisted. Ed smelled fluid leaking on the hot engine. Carefully, he climbed in and pulled the bloody man out of the smoking car. Ed sat with him, cradling his head until first responders appeared.

Officer Brandon Bridgewater was recognized for saving multiple families and carrying a child from an apartment fire.

Three days into his career as a full-time Windham Police Officer, Brandon Bridgewater was first on the scene of an apartment building in flames. Running through the residence, he pounded on doors to wake residents. At one apartment, a startled mother and small child turned back for another child who was upstairs. Officer Bridgewater ran into the smoke filled apartment and carried the second child out into the cold night.

As they watched the flames, Officer Bridgewater kept the numerous, displaced families warm by bringing coffee from a nearby convenience store and letting the young and elderly wait in his cruiser until the Red Cross was on the scene to assist them.

Carolyn Hanson, and Kristin Dowling were recognized for performing CPR on a neighbor who had collapsed.

It began as a very unusual day for Carolyn Hanson. She had woken up with a backache on the morning of Dec. 30, 2014. When her husband suggested that they take a walk to work out the kinks on the nearby City of Stow Hike and Bike trail, she decided to take him up on it. Walking on the trail was something they did regularly, though not usually at that time.

On their way they met up with David Dluzyn, a neighbor who had just finished his morning run. As they were talking, David stopped suddenly and fell backwards – smack – on to the pavement. The couple called 911, and Carolyn began CPR. Neighbors began to come out to see what was happening. Carolyn, not knowing anything about David except for his name and that he lived somewhere close by, instructed one to look in David’s shoe where he had previously mentioned that he kept identifying information. After locating the slip of paper, the neighbor ran home to get his daughter, Kristin Dowling, who was also trained in CPR.

Kristen, who had received Red Cross training as a lifeguard, and Carolyn began to trade off doing compressions until the paramedics arrived.

David is recovering and continues to run on the trail.

 

Kizzy Spaulding was recognized for rescuing a woman from her burning home.

“You notice things,” said Kizzy Spaulding, an Akron-area postal worker. “Clients start to become family.”

As Kizzy walked her East Akron mail route, an unusual smell permeated the neighborhood. She noticed that one of her clients was not out working in her yard as was her daily routine. Kizzy sensed that something wasn’t right. She doubled-back and opened the client’s mail slot. She glanced through the small area and noticed the smell was coming from the home. She could see the elderly client holding her head and laying on a couch inside.

Kizzy began to call to the woman. She seemed dazed and did not respond. Fearing for her client, Kizzy pushed open the door and carried the slight woman outside. She called 911 before she returned to the house and doused the smoking stove.

Once first responders were on the scene, Kizzy picked up her mail pouch and returned to her route.

Scott Nelson and Bob Moore were recognized saving a man who was drowning in the freezing waters of the Ohio and Erie Canal.

It was well below freezing on January 9, 2015. Bob Moore and Scott Nelson were waiting for a car repair to be completed, and decided to find some place close to eat. They found a small establishment right on the Ohio & Erie Canal.

Inside they chatted with the owner, Stephen Risner, and made friends with his dog, Sam.

Shortly after ordering their food, a woman came into the lounge shouting that there was a man thrashing in the frozen canal. Scott and Bob ran out to see what was going on and found Sam, wet and whimpering, wandering the shores of the canal and barking for his owner. Stephen had fallen in while trying to rescue Sam from the water.

Scott waded into the water, while Bob retrieved a long extension cord from the car. After tossing the cord, the two were finally able to pull Stephen from the icy water.  First responders arrived on the scene and helped Stephen up the embankment and treated Scott, whose clothes were wet and cold.

Sam was put in a warm car.

Ashley Feldman was recognized for saving man who was had fallen outdoors during the polar vortex.

On one of the coldest mornings of 2015, Ashley Feldman was on her way to her job as a receptionist when she noticed something in the open field near the dog park at Liberty Park. The object struck her as odd, so she stopped to investigate.

It turned out to be an elderly man who had gone to the park to let his dog run. He had lost his footing in the deep snow and, having recently had replacement surgery in both knees, was unable to pull himself up.

Despite not being dressed for the frigid temperatures, Ashley ran to him. As she tried to provide him some warmth, he confided that he had been laying there for 45 minutes.

Kelli Chronister was recognized for performing CPR on a fellow bike rider during the Sweet Corn Challenge.

Kelli Chronister

In the July Sweet Corn Challenge bike ride, Kelli Chronister was riding behind a man who fell off his bike in the middle of the road at mile 22 of the 25 mile ride. She recognized a full-arrest heart attack and immediately started CPR. She continued for several minutes and as other cyclists and the police got to the scene, they took turns administering the CPR. When the emergency crews arrived they administered the defibrillator. The 52-year-old victim later learned that he had a serious heart condition that required surgery. The emergency people said that without that immediate help given by Kelli and others he would have died. Kellie teaches respiratory therapy at UA.

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To commemorate twenty years of celebrating acts of heroism, we launched a CrowdRise campaign at the event to encourage community members to #GetAlarmed and be a hero in our community by supporting our smoke alarms initiative, Operation Save-A-Life.  Through donations given at the event we raised $2,015 which will help us install smoke alarms in nearly 67 homes! If you wish to donate, visit bit.ly/GetAlarmedSPM. We would also encourage you to share the message with your friends and family. Together we can help save lives.

This year’s event raised nearly $140,000. Proceeds from last night will assist us in providing Red Cross services throughout Summit, Portage, and Medina Counties.

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In addition to recognizing the heroism of area residents at the event, we presented the H. Peter Burg Award to Leonard Foster, a community member who has been selfless in service to the community by demonstrating a lifelong commitment to humanitarian causes, charitable organizations and the vitality and welfare of the local community.