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.

Lifeguarding Manual 2012

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!

Three generations of heroes for CPR

By Sue Wilson, American Red Cross volunteer

March 15, 2019- Almost 20 years ago, the American Red Cross featured an article about a grandmother who saved the life of her granddaughter by performing CPR. That grandma, Kate Cherney, was not a doctor or a nurse, but a teacher of medical assisting and phlebotomy. She had been trained in CPR. Her daughter, Kelli Pavlas, then a young mom pregnant with her second baby at the time, said that the day of the incident was like any normal day. Her then 18-month-old daughter Alyssa had no signs or symptoms that something was about to happen. Kelli shares the story: “We were at my parents’ house watching a Cleveland Indians game. It was a perfectly normal day. My daughter was playing with my mom, sitting on her lap, when all of a sudden her eyes rolled in the back of her head and she went totally limp.”

Kelli said her mom, Grandma Kate, responded immediately, calling Alyssa’s name and checking for a response, then placing her flat on the floor to check for a pulse or breathing. There was nothing. Kate called for her husband to call 911 and immediately began CPR.

“I was 21 and pregnant with my second child,” said Kelli. “I was not a nurse and did not know CPR. I was frozen. I didn’t know how to help!”

After several rounds, Alyssa began to respond. EMS arrived and took the child to the hospital, where tests were run and she was observed for some time, but no cause was found. Kelli explained, “All we know is that she would not have made it if my mom didn’t intervene and perform CPR.”

Alyssa Baylog & Kate Cherney

Alyssa Baylog and her grandmother Kate Cherney

Kelli had many sleepless nights after that. She’d set an alarm hourly to check on her daughter. But she did more than that. She immediately enrolled in a CPR class, as did her sisters. And then?  “I was very inspired by what happened and I decided to become a nurse to help others.”

All these years later, what became of that baby? Alyssa Balog is now saving lives herself as a cardiac nurse at the Cleveland Clinic. And she has a “pay it forward” story of her own.

While in nursing school, Alyssa would spend some nights at her grandparents’ house because it was a close distance to her clinicals. One evening, when her grandma Kate was out for a walk with a neighbor, her grandpa told Alyssa he wasn’t feeling well. After checking his pulse and noting other symptoms, she knew something was wrong. So she took him to the emergency room, where they discovered he was in atrial fibrillation. Kelli said, “In a way, Alyssa was able to repay the favor in a small way by assisting my dad who had assisted in saving her.”

Kelli feels certain that if her mom did not have CPR training, Alyssa would not be here today to help not only the many patients she cares for but also help her grandpa on that fateful evening. “I probably would not be a nurse myself,” added Kelli. “My mom’s actions inspired us to help others.”

In fact, when Kelli gave birth all those years ago, she had another beautiful baby girl. She named her Kate, after her mom, who she said is her hero.

Kelli, her daughter Alyssa and matriarch Kate are all living testaments to the importance of knowing CPR. They believe you never know when it could be your opportunity to make a difference.

Kelli and her family all received their CPR training through the American Red Cross. To get information on Red Cross CPR training near you, click here.

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross Volunteer 

CPR: Easy to learn and could save a life

By Doug Bardwell , American Red Cross volunteer

February 6, 2019- The American Red Cross is well-known for the lifesaving training it makes available across the country. Classes are available for adult, child and infant CPR, First Aid and use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). Special classes are also offered for health/rescue workers, child care, babysitters and lifeguards.

If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse, Hands-Only CPR is the recommended form of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). It not only increases the likelihood of surviving breathing and cardiac emergencies that occur outside of medical settings, but it’s simple to learn and easy to remember.

Icon PreparednessTo make learning easier, one year ago, the Red Cross introduced new CPR manikins affectionately called Big Red. The manikins help students get immediate feedback if they are performing the CPR technique correctly.

“Good CPR is a skill that almost anyone can do, but using the correct technique can be the difference between life and death for a person in cardiac arrest,” said Richard N. Bradley, M.D., FACEP, member of the American Red Cross Scientific Advisory Council, and chair of its Resuscitation Sub-Council. “The unique technology in the Big Red manikin enhances an amazing tool to improve students’ ability to learn the right way to provide lifesaving assistance.”

Anyone can master the technique

Before performing CPR, remember these few important steps:

  1. Look around and make sure the scene is safe for yourself and the victim.
  2. Tap the person on the shoulder and shout “Are you okay?” Look for signs of rhythmic, normal breathing.
  3. If none, call or have someone call 911, and then begin CPR.

Performing Hands-Only CPR:

  1. Kneel beside the person who needs help.
  2. Place the heel of one hand on the center of the chest.
  3. Place the heel of the other hand on top of the first hand, then lace your fingers together.
  4. Position your body so that your shoulders are directly over your hand and keep your arms straight.
  5. Push hard, push fast. Use your body weight to help you administer compressions that are at least 2 inches deep and delivered at a rate of at least 100 compressions per minute. (Just be sure to let the victim’s chest rise completely between compressions.)
  6. Keep pushing. Continue Hands-Only CPR until you see obvious signs of life (like breathing), another trained responder or EMS professional can take over, you’re too exhausted to continue, an AED becomes available, or the scene becomes unsafe.

This short video will give you the proper technique:

Yes, anyone can do it.

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In a recent Washington Post article, the writer tells the story of Cross Scott, a mechanic, who encountered a woman who had stopped breathing. He decided to administer CPR while waiting for the rescue squad to arrive. Having never taken a CPR course, he did recall watching  Michael Scott learning how to do CPR on an episode of “The Office.”  Within a minute, the woman began to breathe again.

You can watch the humorous, but lifesaving TV clip here:

 

Find a class and sign up today

To be a genuine asset to family, friends and your neighbors, consider signing up for a Red Cross class. With multiple opportunities each week, it’s easy to find one near you at a convenient time.

Classes can be done online, in person or a blended class using both online and in-person sessions. By taking part of the instruction online, you’ll spend less time in class, but have the advantage of reviewing anything that may have been unclear in the online materials.

Red Cross volunteers can get a voucher to cover the cost of the course. Inquire at your local chapter office.

 

How to do Hands-Only CPR

https://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/cpr/performing-cpr/hands-only-cpr

http://www.redcross.org/prepare/hands-only-cpr   video

http://www.redcross.org/take-a-class/cpr/cpr-training  take a class: online, in person, blended

Hands-Only CPR page

https://www.redcross.org/get-help/how-to-prepare-for-emergencies/be-red-cross-ready/hands-only-cpr.html

 

Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer

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.”

Training Lifts Red Cross Worker to New Heights

By EILENE E. GUY
American Red Cross volunteer

AKRON, July 17, 2016 – American Red Crosser Pam Williams is used to handling challenges.

In the last eight years, she has done some 25 disaster deployments all over the country.  As a government liaison, she sees to it that the Red Cross is working smoothly with whatever tribal, local, state and even federal agencies are also responding to a disaster.

“I haven’t severed diplomatic relations with a single state yet,” the slim, whitehaired volunteer from Akron, Ohio, said with a chuckle.

Williams admits it’s not always easy when “cranky politicians” take out their stress on her. She recalls with pride an episode that started with an angry emergency management director and his shelter manager who didn’t understand Red Cross policies. Williams went out of her way to patiently explain the “back story” of each and every procedure, adding hours to her days to smooth the local government-Red Cross relationship. Her reward: The shelter manager later wrote to her at home, asking how to become a Red Cross volunteer.

On the eve of what could be a busy assignment, as the Red Cross and its many partners get ready for the Republican National Convention, Williams seized a new challenge:  She took the training to become a forklift driver.

The Red Cross offers a staggering array of free courses, both on-line and hands-on, to teach disaster responders how to safely and effectively do their jobs – or jobs that they might just want to try.

“I know that we’re often short of forklift drivers, when a truck comes in with a load of supplies, and I thought ‘What the heck’,” Williams said, with an almost-mischievous smile. “You never know” when you might be able to fill a pressing need.

“It’s not necessarily hard to drive a forklift, but it’s nothing like driving a car,” she learned. With a zero-turning radius, “it feels like the back is going to slide right around in front of you. That took some getting used to.”

Using her light touch and attention to detail, Williams mastered the machine, much to the delight of her many male co-workers. “I didn’t hurt anybody. I didn’t damage any equipment or drop any loads,” she said with amused pleasure, “so it’s a good day!”

Now Williams’s car can sport a bumper sticker that proclaims: “My other ride is a forklift.”

Why we Red Cross: Training

 Gary with his daughter, Christy and his wife.


Gary with his daughter, Christy and his wife.

Gary Burris was stuck in traffic when his daughter became unresponsive. Ahead, he saw a Red Cross vehicle and ran for assistance.

Tim Reichel, Red Cross volunteer, was driving a Red Cross vehicle back to Canton, OH from an event. Upon seeing his panic, Tim ran to Gary’s daughter, Christy. With no cell reception, attempts to call ‘911’ failed. A truck driver used his radio to call for help.

Tim, certified in CPR and first aid, could see she was breathing and propped her legs up to prevent shock. He retrieved gauze from his vehicle to wet and place on her forehead.

Once the EMS arrived, they took Christy to a local hospital. It was determined that Christy had a seizure. She is now in good health.

“As I’ve shared this story, people can’t believe how lucky we were. I was paralyzed with fear but feel so blessed that the Red Cross was there,” said Gary.

Tim began volunteering for the Red Cross after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. In response to this situation Tim asks that everyone get CPR and First Aid certification.

If you would like more information on Red Cross training in First Aid and CPR, visit our website or contact your local chapter. For more information on volunteering, click here.