Consider taking a class this CPR and AED Awareness Week
By Tim Poe, American Red Cross volunteer
In the U.S., over 350,000 people suffer cardiac arrest outside of hospitals each year. Many of the roughly 10% who survive do so because someone performed CPR or used an automated external defibrillator (AED) within the first few minutes. Since the first week of June is National CPR and AED Awareness Week, we urge you to consider learning these lifesaving skills.
CPR and AEDs are effective, especially when performed by a bystander before emergency medical personnel can arrive. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that, if performed in the first few minutes of cardiac arrest, CPR can double or triple a person’s chance of survival.
Similarly, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that a bystander using an AED increased the likelihood of survival to 67% whereas waiting for EMS to shock the heart only had a 43% survival rate. The NIH also found survival with minimal disability is much greater when a bystander used an AED (57%, versus 33% when initiated by EMS). The NIH estimates 1,700 lives are saved in the U.S .each year by bystanders using an AED.
I spoke with Philip Coffin, American Red Cross instructor manager for our region, who has over 35 years of experience, 20 of them with the Red Cross. Philip spoke of the importance of acting quickly during a cardiac arrest. He said responding within the first four minutes is critical, as the odds of survival dramatically decrease after that. Every minute you lose, he said, the lower your chances of making it back.
Philip spoke especially highly of AED devices. As cardiac arrests are usually electric events, he said, it takes a shock to restart the heart, which an AED provides. In such cases, CPR keeps the brain alive until the shock can be administered.
CPR/AED training is vitally important, then, and the Red Cross excels at providing it, even during the COVID-19 pandemic. Philip said he is deeply proud of his team, who stuck it out, understood they were providing a mission-critical service, and continued training frontline workers.
If interested, CPR, AED, and first aid training and certification courses are available. Many are tailored to the needs of workplace responders, professional rescuers, school staff, healthcare providers, and the public. Several courses are OSHA compliant.
To ensure safety during the pandemic, some classes are in instructor-led classroom settings following health guidelines, while others offer a blend of online training with an in-class skills session. New, innovative ideas are also in development.
The 25th annual Acts of Courage, featuring the H. Peter Burg Community Leadership & Spirit of the Red Cross awards was not the norm this year, but what has been? Nonetheless, on March 4, 2021, courage and recognition did not stop! Due to precautionary measures during COVID-19, the annual honorees made history streaming virtually together for this edition. It is regarded as the greatest celebrated acts of courage, compassion, character and humility in which the American Red Cross proudly honors our region’s deserving recipients each year.
Seven individuals captured Acts of Courage through reactive giving.
Dustin Nist – a Kent State business management student was returning home when he witnessed a car plunge into the Tuscarawas River near the Clinton fire station. He broke a window of the sinking car with a railroad tie after seeing an older woman with water up to her neck in a desperate situation. “I was talking to the lady, letting her know it’s alright,” before responders were able to extract the woman from the car with only minor injuries. He remains modest and said he was acting out of instinct and only glad he could help. Watch Dustin’s story here.
Yamil Encarnacion –a Twinsburg police officer, earned praise after he crawled into an overturned car in the eastbound lane of I-480 to rescue a 4-year-old child pinned in a car seat after an end over end traffic accident. The little girl’s legs were losing color, so officer Encarnacion jumped into action, crawling into the wreckage, cutting the child free. “I remember seeing an officer carrying my daughter, then he went back for my son and there was just blood all over his arms,” according to Emma Johnson, the mother. She says she will never forget what officer Encarnacion did for her and her family. Watch Yamil’s story here.
Richard Santucci & Jim Shepherd – On February 2, 2020, while at work at Nordson Xaloy Inc. in Austintown, Jim Shepherd helped save a life. A man lost consciousness, fell to the ground and began to have a seizure. Jim immediately assessed the man and alerted his team of the escalated incident. Richard Santucci also came to the man’s aid with an AED. Richard began to perform CPR while administering shocks to the gentleman until EMS arrived on scene. The skills learned in the Red Cross Training Services course helped to save the life of this man. Watch Richard and Jim’s story here.
Clarissa Gagne –a journalist with the Akron Beacon Journal, recounts when Clarissa was pregnant with her daughter, she learned CPR as part of her parenting classes. “It’s one of those skills you learn, and you pray you never have to use it.” But the second-grade teacher did so eight years later. Clarissa’s neighbor had collapsed in front of her when she and several neighbors rushed to help. “It was really a whole neighborhood event,” she said. One person called 911, while another watched the woman’s family. Each link in the chain—the person giving CPR, the 911 caller, the dispatcher, the paramedic, the hospital worker, worked together. Watch Clarissa’s story here.
Natalie Weisler – The Portage County 7-year-old woke up at home early Sunday morning November 8, while her parents and brother were still asleep, she went into the living room to watch television. Only a short time had passed before she heard a startling crash from the kitchen. Upon investigating, she found the breezeway in flames. Remaining calm, Natalie woke her parents and older brother to get out safely. Though the damages were extensive, she was brave under pressure and as her father, Justin Weisler, boldly stated, his daughter simply saved their lives. Watch Natalie’s story here.
Joanne White – The 80-year-old suffers from multiple health issues and has been confined to her Boardman home since March 2020, due to COVID-19. Rather than feeling sorry for herself, she began making masks. She made a bundle of masks weekly in all different fabrics, styles and seasonal designs to distribute to anyone who needed them. On a fixed income and never asking for any money or credit to buy materials, she only wanted to make people smile. She cannot imagine making money off those who may not have the means for something so important. Joanne has has made over 1,200 masks and has shipped them all over the country, essentially “covering” our community. Watch Joanne’s story here.
2021 Peter H. Burg Community Leadership Award – Honorees of this year’s philanthropic legacy award are an inspired couple who have embraced their adopted hometown, Nick and Cindy Browning. Nick is the president of Huntington National Bank and Huntington-Akron Foundation. Nick engages leaders, colleagues, customers and communities in improving the lives of families. Cindy is a dedicated community volunteer, having retired after a 35-year nursing career. Her passion for Hospice of Summa and Grace House Akron continues as she serves as a volunteer member and coordinator on the capital and policy committees. The couple’s past work includes youth, health, nonprofit and many other community projects. They were honored for the difference they make in the lives of those in our communities.
The 2021 Spirit of the Red Cross Award Winners – Through their success in the automotive industry, Greg and Alice Greenwood and their family of companies have become synonymous in the Mahoning Valley with devotion for over 36 years. The Greenwoods serve by following the core values the Greenwood dealerships were built upon: Respect, Trust, Honestly, Loyalty and Professionalism. The Greenwood family and its dealership teams are agents for philanthropy and community contribution by supporting the Red Cross in Youngstown, where Greg was an active board member and speaker. Their dealerships support many diverse organizations and events, including local schools, youth clubs, family healthcare and nonprofits. The Greenwood family and dealerships follow the example that Greg and Alice set in raising their three children, with selflessness and generosity.
Thank you to all the deserving award winners for placing others first and, like the Red Cross, being there when help is needed. You, too, can be a local hero. If you are interested in volunteering or to learn more about what caring folks and the Red Cross do on an ongoing basis, visit redcross.org.
Edited By: Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross Volunteer
By Eric Alves, American Red Cross of Northern Ohio
January 20, 2021- Have you ever wanted to get CPR and AED training, but you thought you would never have an opportunity to use your training to save a life? Well, hopefully today’s post will change your mind.
On January 11, 2020, while working during an indoor track meet at the Stile Athletic Field House, a spectator in the stands began to experience chest pains.
John and Kalie quickly responded to the aid of the gentleman. Instantly their Red Cross training kicked in as they delivered breath and chest compressions and administered an AED, until first responders were able to arrive to assist.
Thanks to the quick thinking and responsiveness of John and Kalie, the spectator survived and made a full recovery.
During a virtual ceremony last week, the American Red Cross of Greater Akron and the Mahoning Valley presented John and Kalie with the Lifesaving Award for Professional Responders, the highest award given to an individual, or team of individuals, who saves or sustains a life, outside of a medical setting, as part of their employment or while on duty.
“I am always amazed when someone takes the wherewithal to act. That is the hardest step,” stated Phil Ormandy, American Red Cross Training Services, during the presentation. “I am very proud of you [John and Kalie] and thankful that you put your training in action to save a life.”
“Thankfully John and Kalie were at the right place at the right time. I am proud of them and the University of Akron for holding these trainings,” said Max Elder, John and Kalie’s coworker, who nominated them for the award.
The American Red Cross offers training programs in various areas from first aid, CPR, AED administration, water safety, babysitting and more. Learn more about Red Cross lifesaving courses here.
July 24, 2020- Imagine seeing a high school student fall to the ground while watching a football team practice. Would your first inclination be to assume he was horsing around? Fortunately, Shamara Golden, a student at Youngstown State University, was watching and had a sense there was more to it than that.
Shamara and athletic trainer Alex McCaskey rushed to his aid. Finding that he was still breathing and still had a pulse, but was unresponsive and unconscious, Alex stayed by his side and called 911. Shamara ran for the AED machine and medical kit.
Shamara Golden with her Red Cross Certificate of Merit
While she was gone, the student stopped breathing. Alex immediately began CPR. As she returned, Alex cut open his shirt as Shamara attached the AED pads for assessment. Following the instructions on the AED, they delivered a shock, which caused him to start breathing again.
Once the victim began to breathe again, Alex stabilized the victim’s spine while Shamara rolled the victim into recovery position. While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, the victim stopped breathing again and the AED advised to continue CPR. Alex began to again administer five rounds of CPR until the ambulance arrived.
“I received a call from the boy’s mother when he was taken off the ventilator in the hospital,” recalled Alex. “That was an amazing feeling, getting that call. After that, a number of the Warren G. Harding High School administration members came down to congratulate Shamara and me at future football games.”
Virtual award presentation featuring Greater Akron and the Mahoning Valley Chapter Executive Director Rachel Telegdy, Northern Ohio Region CEO Mike Parks, Dr. Morgan Bagley, Shamara Golden and Alex McCaskey
“The day after it happened,” explained Shamara, “I didn’t mention it to my class, because I still hadn’t heard how the boy was doing. After we heard that he was fine, my classmates found out and there were cheers all around.”
Alex and Shamara were nominated for American Red Cross lifesaving awards by Dr. Morgan Bagley, associate professor at Youngstown State University where Shamara was studying to become an athletic trainer.
Alex received the Certificate of Extraordinary Personal Action for those who step up in an emergency to save or sustain a life. Shamara received the Certificate of Merit, the highest award given by the Red Cross to a person who saves a life using the skills and knowledge learned in an American Red Cross Training Services course.
“I’m so proud of both of them,” said Dr. Bagley. “Shamara told me, ‘It’s just like you said, we have to constantly practice to be prepared for anything and everything.’”
Without a doubt, the skills learned in the American Red Cross CPR and AED Training class helped to save the life of this student.
You, too, can sign up and receive training in CPR, AED and First Aid with the Red Cross. Online classes are available. Click here to get started.
Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer
July 10, 2020- If a loved one or colleague – or even a stranger – suddenly collapsed in front of you, what would you do?
Fortunately for 61-year-old Mark Eitner, his coworkers at Nordson Xaloy Inc., in Austintown, Ohio, knew exactly what to do. They saved his life.
“Thank you doesn’t seem like enough to say,” Mark said, “but on behalf of my wife and my children, thank you!”
Mark was on hand last week for an American Red Cross ceremony to honor the men who saved his life: Jim Shepard and Richard Santucci.
When Mark went down next to a machine he was working on, Jim immediately recognized the situation was serious and alerted others on the maintenance team to call 9-1-1. Richard – a safety team member who just weeks earlier had taken a refresher for his Red Cross first aid, CPR and AED course – stepped in to take action.
Based on his training, Richard could tell Mark needed CPR, to keep blood flowing, taking oxygen to his brain. He also recognized Mark’s heart needed stimulation from an AED. Richard was able to administer both.
Virtual award presentation for the Nordson Xaloy Inc. employees
Studies show CPR can double a person’s chance of surviving a heart attack, but only about a third of those who suffer cardiac arrest outside of a hospital receive bystander CPR, according to the American Heart Association. Mark got a fighting chance at survival, thanks to Richard and Jim.
Rachel Telegdy, executive director of the American Red Cross of Greater Akron and the Mahoning Valley, presented Jim with a Certificate for Extraordinary Personal Action. This certificate recognizes people who step up in an emergency to help save or sustain a life, exemplifying the mission of the Red Cross to prevent and alleviate human suffering in emergencies.
For his part, Richard received the Red Cross Certificate of Merit, the organization’s highest award, given to people who save or sustain a life using skills and knowledge learned in Red Cross training. The certificate is signed by the president of the United States, who is the honorary chair of the American Red Cross, and the chairman of the Red Cross.
“It’s my honor (to receive the award),” Richard said. “Without your support and training, I wouldn’t have been able to do what I did.”
Richard has gone on to get certified to teach Red Cross first aid, CPR and AED, paying it forward to enable others to respond in an emergency. He noted that there was an overwhelming response from the Nordson workforce to get Red Cross training in the wake of Mark’s emergency.
“Heroes are all around us. But they’re not common. To act quickly and decisively during a crisis takes a level of courage reserved only for a few,” Rachel said.
“It’s our hope your heroic actions inspire others to get trained in skills that save lives.”
By Jim McIntyre, American Red Cross of Northern Ohio
June 17, 2020- Water Works Aquatic Center in Cuyahoga Falls reopened last week, and if past performance is any indicator of future results, swimmers there will be safe, thanks to the training received by lifeguards at the facility.
Six lifeguards who responded when a child failed to surface from the pool there last summer have been given the American Red Cross Lifesaver Award for Professional Responders. The incident, which led to their recognition, took place July 20, 2019. The six lifeguards, Cameron Bennett, Nick Little, Michael Petrecca, Vincent Petrecca, Dakota Shroyer and Alexandra Staubs, each played a role in the rescue.
The child suffered a heat-related event, sank below the surface of the water, vomited and went passive. The child was unconscious when pulled from the water, but was breathing and had a pulse. He was conscious but confused when EMS arrived. The child was admitted to the hospital for treatment and released the following day.
All six lifeguards received Red Cross lifeguard training, as well as First Aid/CPR/AED.
Virtual presentation of the Lifesaver Award for Cameron, Nick, Michael, Vincent, Dakota and Alexandra
Kathleen Burt, aquatics manager at the City of Cuyahoga Falls nominated the lifeguards for the award. “I think the world of every single member of our team,” Burt said. “We truly are a family and a team, and I’m thankful for the effort they put forward.”
“You always hope you don’t have to use what you learned,” said senior guard Michael Petrecca. In describing the rescue, he said, “It was instinct. The facility has great leadership, and the training we have in place is pretty rigorous.”
The Lifesaving Award for Professional Responders is bestowed upon Red Cross-trained individuals who have an obligation to respond to an emergency, including police, firefighters, EMS, EMT, healthcare professionals and lifeguards. Since 2018, nearly 800 individuals have been honored worldwide for helping to save almost 350 lives.
Cuyahoga Falls Mayor Don Walters said, “You make us extremely proud. Thank you very much for being heroes.”
Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer
June 5, 2020- The first week of June is National CPR and AED Awareness Week, which calls attention to the critical importance of these lifesaving skills and how many can be saved if more Americans learn CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). While more than 1,600 people suffer cardiac arrest each day in the nation, immediate bystander CPR can double or triple the chance of survival.
Cardiac arrests and other emergencies do not cease during a pandemic. While immediate aid for someone suffering sudden cardiac arrest is crucial at any time, increased calls for assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic may increase the need for a relative or bystander to provide effective assistance.
“Bystanders that activate emergency response, initiate chest compressions, and apply and follow the directions of an AED have the greatest impact for the survival of the victim of a cardiac arrest,” said Rosanne Radziewicz, a registered nurse and volunteer with American Red Cross Disaster Health Services.
To help address this need, the Red Cross continues to provide CPR and AED training, whether online, in classrooms or a blend of the two.
A number of CPR and AED training and certification courses are available, many of which are tailored to the needs of workplace responders, professional rescuers, school staff, healthcare providers and the general public. Several courses are Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) compliant.
While online-only courses do not offer the opportunity to demonstrate skills to a certified instructor—and may not meet certain certification requirements—they are still an excellent choice for many. The expert-designed courses are interactive, engaging and can help provide the skills and confidence to save a life in an emergency.
In addition, the Red Cross is offering special pricing on some online-only courses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For those who need in-person training and certification, essential Red Cross CPR, AED and first aid programs are available. These courses can be in an instructor-led classroom setting or a blend of online training with an in-class skills session. All in-person sessions use social-distancing approaches and follow the guidance of the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and state and local public health officials.
March 4, 2020- Let’s say you’re enjoying a quiet evening at home with family or friends and one of you suffers a cardiac emergency. Dr. Mariann Harding wants to increase the odds that someone there can give the victim—possibly you—a fighting chance to live.
Dr. Harding is a professor of nursing technology at the Kent State University (KSU) Tuscarawas campus. So all her students are learning the critical skills to handle such an emergency. Now she’s discovered a way to expand that number of responders many times over.
This year, through the American Red Cross, 18 members of her nursing honor society are presenting Hands-Only CPR. They are teaching non-medical members of their communities how to maintain vital circulation in a stricken person until trained responders arrive.
“Our goal is 200 people touched with this training this year,” said the professor, who likes to be called Mariann. “It’s going very smoothly. I think we’re going to make it.”
Mariann became acquainted with the Red Cross two and a half years ago by way of a local leadership workshop. She decided she could bring something worthwhile to the organization with her medical and educator background.
She joined the board of her local Stark and Muskingum Lakes Chapter and learned about the many preparedness and prevention programs of the Red Cross, including Hands-Only CPR. She realized her students would be ideal volunteer teachers to spread the word about this lifesaving technique.
Hands-Only CPR done by a bystander is recognized as being as effective as CPR with rescue breaths for the first crucial minutes after a cardiac event. “It’s better to use a stopgap that’s 90 percent effective than to do nothing,” Mariann said of the hands-only technique.
KSU provided a grant to buy compression training “torsos” for her project. Last year she and 16 honor nursing students taught nearly 230 people—from teenagers to elderly churchgoers. She’s convinced, “Everybody can do something.”
The project has given her nursing students a shot of confidence in their own abilities to build healthier communities, and it’s introduced them to other Red Cross programs. “One of my students signed up to help with the smoke alarm installations and another one is interested in becoming a presenter for the safe sitter program.”
As for Mariann, “I’m so enjoying my involvement with the Red Cross. I look forward to doing more.”
To learn about the many Red Cross programs that empower Americans to prevent, prepare for and respond to emergencies, or to become a volunteer, visit redcross.org or contact your local Red Cross chapter.
Edited by Glenda Bogar, American Red Cross volunteer
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.
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.
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.”
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!
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.
“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.”
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