Tag Archives: first aid

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


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


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.


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.



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

Babysitting ImageBack when I was 15, my good friend Stacey and I were asked to take on a challenging babysitting job: eight dollars an hour to supervise eight children in one house for four hours. My memory, now hopelessly entangled with my imagination, informs me that all the children were less than eight years old.

Stacey and I were not inexperienced babysitters. We both were veterans of numerous Saturday nights and, by the time of this story, had the theme music of The Love Boat and Fantasy Island (Saturday night staples of the pre-cable era) by heart. Green we were not. Still, we were shocked when two of our charges, ages three and four, locked themselves in an upstairs bedroom and were unable to escape. After prolonged negotiations concerning the workings of the lock, we considered our options. The door hardware was old and hopelessly painted over, and we had no idea where the tool box was anyway. The small people behind the door were now deeply distressed. The other children were engaging in unsupervised and potentially troubling activities. Finally, in an act of desperation, Stacey climbed out the next door bedroom window, shimmied along the roof and let herself into the window of the locked room, thereby freeing our hostages. Proud of our problem solving, we reported the incident to our employers. We were not asked back.

I was reminded of this story when I saw a recent video advertisement produced by the American Red Cross encouraging potential babysitters to make use of their new Babysitting Basics Course. The course is offered online, can be accessed by anyone with an internet connection, and, according to the ad, will help earnest young teenagers like Stacey and I avoid difficult situations with young children. (We also offer a classroom based course.) In the ad, the not so innocent victims of incompetent babysitters talk directly to the camera in a breathtakingly adorable way. If you are a young person interested in babysitting to make extra cash or if you are the parent of a young teenager who wants to help his or her child be prepared to babysit, watch this ad, or that one, and then take the course. Trust me; it is well worth your time.

In other cute video news, the American Red Cross is not the only organization using humor to encourage people to learn important skills. In order to encourage participation in first aid trainings, the Australian Red Cross released this advertising video, which uses animation to tell a rather drastic story about the importance knowing how to help someone with a small problem before it turns into a big one. The video is extremely well made, amusing and also worth a few minutes of your time.

The point is the American Red Cross and the Australian Red Cross and all the chapters all over the world are here to help human beings become more helpful, useful and supportive of one another. We will use humor to get your attention. It is less painful than showing you endless footage of what really happens when things go terribly wrong due to weather or war.  But we want you to know, we conduct trainings in first aid, babysitting, life guarding, nursing assistance and disaster relief. Please take us up on these opportunities to learn how to help others. Check out all the options on our website and find out how you can become the one who knows what to do.

— Posted by Sarah Peterson, Communications Volunteer

When faced with a medical problem, we often find ourselves unsure about the proper steps to take or wishing we had been more prepared by keeping a first aid kit nearby.  Trying to tackle a medical problem while waiting for professional help to arrive or to seek out professional help can be chaotic and demanding.  American Red Cross, with the recent launch of a first aid app for Android and iPhone, has taken strides to ensure that we are well informed and equipped in these situations.  The app includes disaster preparedness information, and provides sequential instructions on how to handle common first aid situations, such as allergies, asthma attacks, broken bones and choking.  It also includes videos and interactive quizzes.

I can easily recall a particular instance involving one of my relatives when the first aid app would have come in handy.  My cousin, Marla, who is a newlywed, was trying to impress her husband by cooking him a nice, home cooked meal, chicken cordon bleu.  She was very anxious for the meal to turn out perfectly, but she had minimal cooking experience living on her own before marriage.  She jokes to this day that the only meals she knew how to prepare were cereal and microwavable pizza.  As she was preparing the chicken cordon bleu, she absentmindedly grabbed the baking pan without wearing an oven mitt and burned all of her fingertips on her right hand.

She immediately went into panic mode.  She was in severe pain and her fingers were beginning to blister.  She had just moved into her new home and did not have a first aid kit.  She frantically called my mother and inquired what she should do because she had never been in a situation similar to this.  She also called her mother and sisters for advice.  Each family member had their own version of a proper remedy for the burns, but did not want to steer her in the wrong direction.

My cousin ended up not treating her burns until she arrived at the hospital, out of fear that she would do something to worsen her condition.  Once at the hospital, a nurse immediately applied ice to her fingertips followed by an ointment, and then wrapped her fingers in bandages.  In this particular instance, the first aid app could have saved my cousin a lot of stress.  Although the app is not a substitute for proper medical training, it could have provided my cousin with proper instructions given by doctors and nurses to ease her pain before going to the hospital.

My cousin is addicted to her iPhone.  Consequently, this no cost app would have been ideal for her to access and utilize.  She would not have had to seek out a variety of theories from family members and weigh the pros and cons of each because she would have already known, thanks to the first aid app, what the best actions were to take in her situation.  Therefore, whether it is a minor medical emergency such as my newlywed cousin’s disastrous cooking experience or a more severe medical emergency, the app is a reliable source to turn to when faced with such unforeseen events.

Submitted by: Lana Pizzo

We do inspiring work here at the Red Cross SEPA chapter. We spend our days helping others in need and according to our colleague, Terry Johnson, it’s “the best job in the world.”

Several Red Cross employees had the opportunity to explain the fulfillment that comes from doing “our kind of work” to several children who visited the office of the SEPA chapter for national “Take your Child to Work Day.” Upon arrival, they were greeted by Fred Cross and fed a delicious, “office kitchen” cooked breakfast of eggs, French toast and bacon. Our CEO, Judge Hughes came in toward the end of the meal and gave an enthusiastic welcome to all participants.

Next on the agenda was a tour around the building with Kevin Wilkins and Dianne Fingar. After a quick visit to Judge Hughes’s office, the kids toured The Bridge and learned about disaster response. The red phone, our direct line to the Philadelphia Fire Department was an object of fascination and served to emphasize the importance of our role in responding to fire disasters in our community. Next, the kids examined the detailed (and extremely fascinating) maps of the region on the wall next to The Bridge and learned which areas are subject to floods during heavy rain. After a short tour of the lunchroom, they received official Red Cross volunteer vests, worn by responders in emergencies. Dianne explained the purpose of Red Cross house and how the SEPA Red Cross is proud to provide a shelter for fire victims who do not have another place to stay.

Eventually, we found our way down to the vehicle well and the young people inspected a few emergency vehicles and heard which ones respond in different disaster situations. Terry Johnson proved an excellent guide and fervent promoter of the emergency responder role. He was proud of the ERV fleet and it’s capacity to provide essentials to those who have lost everything. We learned that the Red Cross has 30,000 cots for disaster response in our region. Amazing!

Later, the kids joked and laughed at a pizza lunch with Judge Hughes. She quizzed our visitors about favorite sports teams and was shocked to discover that allegiance to our home town teams was not as strong as she assumed. One brave twelve year old, Ricardo, stood firm in his loyalty to The Raiders despite her teasing. Sixteen year old, Lawrence, talked about his experience as a volunteer fire fighter, and Linda, 14, showed everyone a picture of her bass guitar, which is shaped like a daisy. Everyone agreed it was very cool.

One of the most moving scenes of the day was watching the kids learn how to provide citizen CPR, basic first aid. They tried very hard to get it right as they practiced creating a basic sling and bandaging one another. It was a reminder of how everyone, young and old, appreciates learning how to be useful in a time of need.