Archive

Trainings

Written by Randy Hulshizer

Several weeks ago, my wife and I signed up to renew our American Red Cross Adult and Pediatric First Aid, CPR, and AED certifications. It was the first time we tried the blended learning format, which includes an online, simulation-based learning experience and an in-person skills session. Since we had always taken the full classroom course previously, we weren’t sure we’d like the online session, but I have to say we really enjoyed it!

Chile Third Year Anniversary Earthquake Recovery 2013

February 19, 2013. Iloca, Chile. Marcelo Gonzalez, a Chilean Red Cross volunteer, demonstrates CPR to a Community-based First Aid & Health workshop in Iloca, Chile. Photo by Brian Cruickshank/American Red Cross

The online session took about two and a half hours, and it was fun–like playing a game–even we were learning important things about serious situations. The simulation put us in “real world” situations and gave us the opportunity to apply our knowledge to various, potentially life threatening emergencies, such as choking, cardiac arrest, external bleeding, and shock.The flexibility of being able to complete the simulations at our own convenience was very nice, considering that it has often been difficult for us to find six hours or so to complete the full classroom course. Once we completed the online portion, we printed out our completion certificates and made our way to the skills session.

Our instructor for the skills session was personable and knowledgable, and he was a great teacher. He presented each skill, gave us an opportunity to practice, then evaluated each of us to be sure we could perform the skills in real world situations if the need ever arose. The session took only about an hour and half. It flew by as we practiced our critical life saving skills and had a great time doing it!

With that said, the blended learning experience might not work for everyone. For example, for someone who has never taken a first aid/CPR course before, the full classroom experience would likely be beneficial, since it gives the student more time to practice and ask questions. In addition, for those who are not comfortable learning online or through simulations, the classroom option is probably the best choice. But for those who have been trained before and simply need a skills refresher, the blended course is a great option!

Whichever course you think is right for you, don’t delay getting trained! Of course, we all hope we never have to perform CPR or use an AED, but if the situation does arise, and you’ve been properly trained, you just might be the one to save a life!

You can find convenient American Red Cross adult and pediatric first aid, CPR, and AED courses (classroom and blended options) in your area by navigating to http://www.redcross.org/ux/take-a-class.

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When the summer heat and humidity becomes unbearable, jumping in a pool, playing in the ocean or cooling off at the lake is a must. The cold water provides a break from the heat and a fun time for the whole family. However, fun can turn into disaster if parents and children don’t know the ins and outs of water safety. According to the CDC, an average of 10 people die in the U.S. from accidental drowning every day and 20% of them are 14 or younger.IMG_4433

To ensure the time you and your family spend in the water is nothing but safe and fun, the American Red Cross has launched a free Swim App, designed to help your family stay safe in any type of aquatic setting. Available directly from the Apple App Store, Google Play or Amazon Marketplace, the swim app teaches both parent and child the importance of water safety.

The swim app provides quizzes for parents to take on water safety in different settings, such as lakes, rivers, beaches and pools. The safety section of the app addresses water safety issues such as prevention, emergencies, where drownings occur and the importance of life jackets.
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The app also provides a progress section for children enrolled in swimming lessons. Learning how to swim is not always fun. It can be scary and intense, and much harder for some than others. The progress section of the app rewards children with a badge each time they complete a swimming level. Earning a badge encourages children to complete the next swimming level and lets parents share their child’s progress with family members and friends. The section also includes information for parents on each swimming level so you know exactly what your child has learned. It includes a skill check-list, as well as a “find a class” option.

IMG_4446The apps kid section consists of five fun lessons, including water safety in your home and helping someone in the water. Each lesson has a kid-friendly video as well as a “learn about the rule” section.  After watching the video and learning about the rule, kids can take a quiz to show that they understand the lesson.  They may just learn something that could save a life!

Drowning can happen in less than one minute and is the second-leading cause of accidental injury death for kids and sixth for people of all ages. With the swim app, parents gain knowledge that will keep them and their kids safe, and kids are able to learn, in their own way, the importance of knowing how to swim and water safety.

IMG_4450The American Red Cross has helped reduce accidental drownings by almost 90% nationwide in the last century. Earlier this year, the American Red Cross launched the drowning prevention campaign. A national campaign aimed at reducing the drowning rate in 50 cities by 50 percent over the next five years.

The American Red Cross is the gold standard for aquatics training and offers a variety of swim course’s, such as the learn-to-swim course, parent and child aquatics and preschool aquatics.

 

 

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Dad and I circa 1983

There’s something special about a daughter’s relationship with her father. I speak from experience as I’m my father’s only daughter and I’ve also had the privilege of watching the relationships evolve between my husband and our two daughters.

My Dad meets his first Granddaughter for the first time. 9/9/09

My Dad meets his first granddaughter, 2009

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My Dad with his second granddaughter, 2014.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that, as a mom and daughter… watching my dad with his granddaughters is also amazing.

Daddy knows all, can fix all and can explain all. This is an undeniable fact for daughters as lucky as me. My Dad was and is always there for me, especially in times of emergency. When I broke my big toe as a preschooler, Daddy was there to make it better and find a way to keep my plaster cast dry in the bath tub. When I fell and all but broke my nose at a neighbor’s house in kindergarten, Daddy arrived in the minivan to pick me up… complete with my brother blaring a vocal siren through the neighborhood. It was my Dad who taught me how to swim as a child, how to treat my chronic nosebleeds in middle school and later how to drive stick in a city full of hills. My Dad braided my hair, reattached Barbie’s limbs when they fell off, packed my lunches, participated in prom and wedding dress shopping, and wiped my tears… happy or sad. He patched me up when I needed it and even saved my life a few times with a swift back blow when I was choking.

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My high school graduation, 1996.

My Dad also taught me the importance of being prepared. As a family, we talked through emergency plans for escaping a fire in the house, how to deal with strangers and what to do if we became separated. My dad always has a flashlight handy and always made sure I had a quarter in my pocket for the payphone… just in case. It’s all part of the role Dad’s play in our lives.

They are our protectors, our planners, our role models, our rocks…. at least for me. As I think about all of the things my Dad has done and will do for me, I realize I’m looking to my husband to fill some big shoes as a Dad… and so far, he’s spilling over. I know he will look out for our girls just as my Dad has and will always for me. Already, he’s mastering the reattachment of Disney Princess limbs and the art of pig tails. He knows how to stop a tantrum and when one’s temperature needs to be checked. My girls’ Daddy has all the answers they need right now and I know they will look up to him as much as I look up to my Dad. I’m realizing, as Father’s Day approaches, that it’s never too late to make sure your Father, or the Father of your children is as prepared as they can be. I’m lucky to work with the American Red Cross where I’ve learned a lot about preparedness. I’ve been trained in first aid, CPR and know how to use an AED. I know what to do in the event of many emergencies… fire, weather or health related, but I’m not the only one who cares for my daughters. They deserve to have two parents prepared for anything. So, this year…. maybe my daughter’s gift to their Daddy is a gift that could save their lives, or mine. How about a CPR or First Aid class? Maybe a preparedness kit for the car or a fire extinguisher for the kitchen? Forget the ties this year and give your Dad, or the Father of your children a different kind of tool this Father’s Day.

My Husband with our daughters, 2012

My Husband with our daughters, 2012

 

Need more ideas? Here are 5 last minute Father’s Day gift ideas from the Red Cross.

 

 

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Today (January 16, 2014)  is a very exciting day for the American Red Cross. It launched its Pet First Aid App for iPhone and Android. It is particularly exciting for the American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania because the content and information in the app was provided by Dr. Debbie Mandell, an emergency room veterinarian at the Ryan Veterinary Hospital at the University of Pennsylvania here in Philadelphia. Dr. Mandell also serves as a pet advisor to the American Red Cross.

In order to launch the app, the Red Cross held what’s called a Satellite Media Tour at a studio in Philadelphia, featuring Dr. Mandell, a Red Cross national spokesperson, two pet first-aid CPR manikins, and Mana, the best behaved dog ever known to attend a media event. Basically, TV and radio stations across the country did interviews with them, one after the other.

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I got to work on this project because of my position with the Red Cross here in Philadelphia. We did site surveys at Penn Vet’s ER, but we couldn’t logistically work out a way to showcase pet emergency care; the unpredictability of a pet emergency room could make for great TV or awful TV. We couldn’t take the chance on the latter.

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Dr. Debbie Mandell (L) of Penn Vet and Laura Howe of the American Red Cross, and Mana the dog, during media interviews about Red Cross Pet First-Aid app.

So for about six hours this morning, Dr. Mandell, the spokesperson, and Mana sat in a studio saying the same things over and over about the Pet First-Aid app. They explained for what seemed like a thousand times, the app’s many features, did pet CRP demonstrations, and showed what items should be in every family’s pet first-aid kit.

One thing in particular stands out to me from the series of interviews this morning. Dr. Mandell really did a geat job emphasizing the dangers in your home that you may not be aware of. She mentioned certain plants and flowers are toxic to cats and dogs. I had no idea. The Red Cross Pet First-Aid app identifies those plants for you and what to do if your pet eats or licks any of those plants.

My two dogs died a few years ago, so I don’t have any pets, but I can still use the app. It is useful for me to help potential Red Cross clients with pets, who need a place to go after a fire or flood, find nearby pet friendly hotels. Often, concern about what to do with their pets prevents people from evacuating. This app helps alleviate those concerns. Jen Leary, who runs the local pet disaster rescue organization Red Paw, downloaded the app and says the pet friendly hotel and vet locator portion of the Red Cross app is a “game changer” for her volunteers in the field.

But if you have a pet, you definitely need to consider downloading it. The 99 cents seems like a small price to pay for an app that has so many great, potentially lifesaving features. Plus the 99 cents goes to support all Red Cross services, including disaster relief. To do that go to redcross.org/mobileapps or search Red Cross on iTunes or Google Play. And help ensure you’re prepared to care for you pets like any other member of your family.

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Thanksgiving week marked the end of my rotation working in preparedness education as an AmeriCorps member.  Working that rotation was a friendly reminder for why I wanted to follow a career in medicine.  What really pushed me towards medicine was that medicine gives me the opportunity to interact with such a diverse group of people, and I encountered this during my time in the preparedness education rotation.

While working in preparedness education, I was given the opportunity to travel throughout Southeastern Pennsylvania to present the various courses Red Cross offers at schools and community centers.  Some classes I taught were about fire safety, others were about disaster preparedness, and my favorite one was teaching a hygiene class to kindergartners.

What I enjoyed most about teaching classes was the diversity of the participants.  I find that the diversity brought an element of surprise to teaching because I never knew the people I’d encounter when walking into a classroom.  This made each day of work exciting because I knew I would have the opportunity to meet new people.

Although it was my job to be teaching others, I often found myself learning skills that I hope to take advantage of when I go into the medical field.  Working in preparedness education has really improved my ability to teach others and has also greatly improved my public speaking.  It has also taught me the importance of being able to adapt to different situations; I often found myself drifting away from my script to better explain the course.

I hope my time working in preparedness education had a positive impact on Southeastern Pennsylvania.  It is sad to be leaving that department, but I am excited knowing that the other departments have just as much to offer!

This month there is an exciting opportunity for Red Cross employees, volunteers and partners in the disaster response field! On October 25-29, 2013, the Pennsylvania Disaster Training Institute will offer training courses which teach life-changing leadership skills. The trainings are FREE and will also emphasize management skills and practices.

On Friday, October 25,2013, I look forward to taking the Assisting Animals on a Residential Disaster scene, the Red Paw Pilot Program. Red Paw is an organization that I have been wanting to get involved with since learning about them a few months ago.

“The Red Paw Emergency Relief Team is an emergency services, nonprofit organization that works in conjunction with the American Red Cross, SEPA Chapter and other public and private disaster relief, social service, and animal welfare organizations to provide emergency transport, shelter, and veterinary care to animals involved in residential fires and other disasters”.- Red Paw

The Red Paw Pilot Program is a three-part workshop from 9:00a.m.-3:00p.m. Part One of the workshop will emphasize pet preparedness as a part of the Preparedness component of the Red Cross Disaster Cycle. Part Two is where participants will learn the steps to take on a disaster scene response, including the assessment of animals and how to provide assistance during and after the response. Part two will also will feature a hands-on presentation with live animals! Part Three will focus on the development of the Red Paw Emergency Relief Team. Additionally, participants will learn how to start an organization that provides assistance to pets during a disaster, and includes potential obstacles and information on how to move forward if your local Red Cross chapter is not in a position to help support a fully formed organization.

There are many more amazing courses to take part in. Hurry and sign up before all courses are full!

The Disaster Training Institute will take place at American Red Cross Southeastern Pennsylvania Chapter and the Red Cross House

To Check out the Disaster Institute Training Courses please click here

To Register for Courses at the Disaster Institute please click here

As AmeriCorps National Preparedness & Response Corps (NPRC) members, we have had the opportunity to take a variety of American Red Cross training courses over the past few months. These trainings have given us the tools needed to prepare and respond to local and national disasters, and have helped us become a part of the Red Cross SEPA team!

One of my favorite trainings so far, was learning Client Casework. During this day long training session, we were able to learn how to properly carry out client services-skills we can apply to both local and national disasters.  Our team was able to conduct practice interviews, assess client needs and determine the appropriate assistance. This training was especially helpful to me during my first rotation at the Red Cross House. While at Red Cross House, I was able to implement client services at a local level by helping families get back on their feet following a disaster.

Becoming certified in driving and using the equipment on the Emergency Response Vehicles (ERVs) was another exciting AmeriCorps NPRC training. The Emergency Response Vehicles help the Red Cross respond to local and national disasters ranging from house fires to hurricanes. Learning how to properly operate and drive an ERV is an important part of being a Red Cross disaster volunteer. These vehicles are essential to disaster relief operations. ERVs are used to provide mobile or stationary feedings, distribute items, and, as necessary, perform casework and transfer supplies. To prepare us for safe ERV driving, we all completed an online defensive driving course before taking the road test. Members also learned how to safely handle and serve food that will be delivered to clients through an online training. I look forward to perhaps one day operating the ERV on a national deployment. We all passed the road test!

Our team also became CPR & First Aid certified through the American Red Cross. In addition to the classroom trainings, AmeriCorps NPRC members have the opportunity to sign up individually for American Red Cross trainings in areas we may wish to specialize in when responding to national disasters. I look forward to taking more training courses that will advance me in Client Casework, as I enjoy carrying out client services. Joining the Red Cross SEPA team has been an exciting opportunity and I look forward to taking more trainings in preparedness and response at the upcoming Pennsylvania Disaster Training Institute on October 25th-29th.

Pictured: (Left) Megan Wood and (Right) Jingwen Li taking the CPR Certification Test

               Pictured: (L) Megan Wood and (R) Jingwen Li taking the CPR Certification test