“100 Years of American Red Cross Lifesaving Education: A Century of Excellence.” That is what we celebrated yesterday here at the American Red Cross. March is Red Cross Month and we had a press conference followed by a reception to kick-it-off here at SELA.
We invited lifesavers and survivors from the past decade to join us and I was fortunate enough to make some of those invitation phone calls. I spent an afternoon calling the different lifesavers and survivors, “I understand that you are a life saver!” I would say. “That’s right! I am!” would be their enthusiastic response. All were very appreciative of the invitation to the event. I became familiar with each person’s story. Our Health and Safety director has a collection of pictures and stories from the lifesavers and the survivors, she knows them all, and is very excited to share them with me. I am just as excited to hear them…
I heard about the little boy who had gotten his arm taken off by an alligator and two men in the area cared for the wound, got him to safety, and saved his life. I heard about the three-year-old girl who was choking and her ten-year-old cousin who saved her with the Heimlich maneuver he had recently learned in a BAT (Basic Aid Training) class. I heard about the grandfather that had a heart attack and his grandson who gave him CPR. I saw them both in celebration yesterday. I heard about the man who jumped into a vehicle to give rescue breaths to a young child that had stopped breathing before they reached EMS. I was lucky enough to hand that 10-year old boy a piece of cake!
Our CEO said that over 42,000 people were trained in CPR and First Aid last year in Southeast Louisiana. That’s a lot, but not enough. Hearing and reading story after story of the incidents and successes made me realize the importance of proper training. Being in the Health and Safety department I frequently train people in Southeast Louisiana. Each CPR or First Aid class that I teach is not just another certification card for students to show their employers – I am training future lifesavers. The next story could include you… come on over and get trained!