First aid volunteers are first on the scene – British Red Cross

November 21, 2008

The Red Cross helps people all around the world. Below is a story how first aid helped when a diabetic teenager collapsed in his remote rural home in their countryside home in Irvinestown, Northern Ireland.

Originally posted on

When a diabetic teenager collapsed in his remote rural home, a Red Cross first aider was able to reach the scene in minutes – thanks to the first responder scheme.

Volunteer Louise Johnston was on hand to respond very soon after 15-year-old Luke Wallace became suddenly unwell at his countryside home in Irvinestown, Northern Ireland.

She was able to reach him so quickly due to the Red Cross’ first responder scheme, where local first aid volunteers work in partnership with the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service (NIAS) to provide fast emergency help.

Under the scheme, volunteers in the Irvinestown area are alerted to category one calls at the same time as the ambulance service. This means that, following an emergency call-out, they can often reach the scene first and provide life-saving help until an ambulance arrives.

Quick response

Looking back on the frightening experience (which happened last month), Sharon Wallace – Luke’s mother – remembered: “Since Luke is diabetic, we were worried that he didn’t have a lot of time. Then while we were waiting for the ambulance, Louise arrived at the door.

“She got here very quickly and did a fantastic job of looking after Luke by checking his blood sugar and his temperature. She also helped reassure the rest of us and keep us calm because we were all panicking! And when the ambulance arrived, Louise explained the situation and handed it over to them.”

The grateful mum added: “Louise did a great job and I am really glad she was there. The first responder scheme was a great help and I’m sure it will help a lot of people.”

Crucial first minutes

The Red Cross first responders all live within five miles of Irvinestown and are trained to use an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED), which can be critical in the first few minutes following a heart attack or collapse.

John Wright, rapid response manager for the Northern Ireland Ambulance Service, said: “Responding to 999 emergencies in a city centre is easy as vehicles can be deployed and reach casualties within a couple of minutes.

“However, in rural and isolated areas such as Irvinestown, it’s much more difficult for ambulances to locate casualties and negotiate their way down narrow country lanes, so average response times are more like ten to twelve minutes.”

He added: “The first response volunteers are very valuable to us and their local communities because they can provide vital emergency first aid while the casualty waits for the ambulance.”

If you’d like to take a Health & Safety Class from the American Red Cross please go to if you’re in the Rock River Region or to find your local Red Cross go to


New Two-Year Red Cross CPR/AED Certification Now Available!

October 31, 2008

Preparedness and Health and Safety Services conducted a review of the validity length of CPR certification for the professional rescuer based on requests from chapters. All CPR certifications were considered and it was determined that the change to a two-year CPR certificate validity period would be appropriate for professional rescuers other than lifeguards.

Professional rescuers other than lifeguards are in a position to use CPR/AED skills on a regular basis due to job responsibilities. The American Red Cross Advisory Council on First Aid, Aquatics, Safety and Preparedness (ACFASP) review of the scientific literature indicates formal retraining can be changed to a biennial occurrence for some rescuers. The review has indicated that skill and knowledge retention can be accomplished through a variety of methods including skills performance, retraining and skills refreshers. Lifeguards are excluded from the two-year certification due to the predominantly seasonal nature of their work. In addition, the American Red Cross Aquatic Examiner Service supports an annual training standard. Therefore, the certificate issued for lifeguards will be valid for one year.

The American Red Cross announces the following changes to the certificates and validity periods for the CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer course.

  1. Certificates issued in a CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer course will now be valid for two years except for lifeguards whose certification will remain one year. The certificate issued for these courses will be a new certificate titled CPR/AED for the Professional Rescuer and Healthcare Provider.
  2. The certificate issued to lifeguards will be a new certificate titled CPR/AED for Lifeguards, which is valid for one year.

Following both the scientific literature and OSHA recommendations, the Red Cross continues to strongly encourage all professional rescuers to retrain in CPR/AED annually and to refresh their skills at least every six months. The maintenance of skills and knowledge is achieved by a combination of course work including retraining, skills refreshers and application of these skills.

If you have questions about this change, contact Jess Paquette, Health & Safety Director of the Rock River Chapter at 815-963-8471 or e-mail

Getting an AED is as easy as 1-2-3! Contact Red Cross!

October 30, 2008

You have probably seen AEDs in airports or at your local fitness center, but what about your workplace or other spots you frequent? Are there AEDs located anywhere? Have you seen them? Would you know what one looks like and how to use it in an emergency? Well…it’s time to check that out, and it’s as easy as 1-2-3.

Step # 1: You may be wondering what the abbreviation stands for. AED stands for Automated External Defibrillator. An AED is a device about the size of a small, laptop computer that analyzes the heart’s rhythm for any abnormalities and, if necessary, directs the rescuer to deliver an electrical shock to the victim. The shock, called defibrillation, may help the heart to reestablish an effective rhythm of its own. AEDs are easy to operate! They use voice prompts to instruct the rescuer. Once the machine is turned on, the rescuer is prompted to apply two pads (provided with the AED) to the victim’s chest. Once applied, the AED will begin to monitor the victim’s heart rhythm. If a “shockable” rhythm is detected, the machine will charge itself and instruct the rescuer to stand clear of the victim and to press the shock button.

Seems like a good device to have around, right?!? Well, get this! In the time it takes you to read this article, sudden cardiac arrest will have claimed another victim. Statistics show that more than 250,000 Americans die of sudden cardiac arrest every year. If someone initiates the Cardiac Chain of Survival, and an Automated External Defibrillator is available at the time of the emergency, up to 50,000 of these deaths could be prevented. AEDs are not just a good idea, they are a life-saving, essential device that should be available everywhere! Hopefully by now, we have covered the first step and you see the value of an AED.

Step # 2: Now you are ready to check your workplace, church, or other areas where you know an AED is needed. You might be the person in charge or you may need to gather with your boss, co-workers, friends, or others to decide to make the purchase, find the funding, etc. Who can you go to now that you are looking for further information and want to purchase? Look no further than the Rock River Chapter of the American Red Cross. We are here to help facilitate the placement of AEDs into your workplaces, community centers, and other places where large groups of people gather. We will provide more detail, demonstrations, and beyond to help you in acquiring an AED where you need one! Just call us at 815-963-8471, and make sure to reference this article.

Step # 3: If you get this far, you are on your way to a much safer place because you are getting an AED! However, there is this one last, crucial step: Get TRAINED! Yes…an AED is easy to use, but training is necessary in order to understand the role of defibrillation in the broader context of the cardiac chain of survival. Training in CPR and AED skills will enable YOU, the rescuer, to use all the steps, thereby significantly increasing the victim’s chance of survival. This is a huge part of what we will discuss with you after you make the decision to purchase.

It really is as easy as 1-2-3 so give us a call, and let’s talk further about making our community a little safer. Call 815-963-8471 or visit

DID YOU KNOW: We can train you on CPR/AED & First Aid at your House?

September 10, 2008

The title of this post pretty much says it all.  We CAN train you in First, CPR/AED at your house, church, backyard, or anywhere else you can find some space.  The Red Cross will send out an Instructor, Books, Manikins, and all the supplies you may need.  The only thing you need is: A minimum of 8 people and place for us to conduct the class!  It’s really that simple!

This is a great thing for new mothers and fathers, for church groups, after school organization, or a Club.  But the possibilities are truly endless!

Our classes start at $50/participant.  So call me, Rahil, today at (815) 963-8471

National CPR/AED Awareness Week; American Red Cross encourages everyone to learn CPR/AED

June 2, 2008

Sudden cardiac arrest claims the lives of more than 166,000 people in this country every year. Sadly, an astonishing 94 percent of people who suffer sudden cardiac arrest die before reaching a hospital. If ordinary people act immediately with Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and use an Automated External Defibrillator (AED), instead of just waiting for help to arrive, many thousands of lives can be saved every year.

It can take emergency personnel precious minutes to arrive on the scene. For every minute without defibrillation, a sudden cardiac arrest victim’s chance of surviving drops. It is critical for as many people as possible to be trained to perform CPR and know how to use an AED until advanced help arrives.

American Red Cross training in CPR and proper use of an AED can provide people with the knowledge and confidence to respond during an emergency situation with skills that can help save a life. Red Cross recommends that at least one person in every household and place of business receive this training. Over the past year, the Rock River Chapter has trained over 7,000 men, women and children in lifesaving skills in CPR, First Aid and AED.

Congress has set aside June 1-7 as the first annual National CPR/AED Awareness Week to spotlight how lives can be saved if more Americans know CPR and how to use an AED. In the declaration, Congress is asking states and municipalities to make AEDs more publicly accessible. During this week, Red Cross chapters across the country will conduct CPR/AED classes and demonstrations, host events, and provide educational information on the importance of CPR and AED training. Red Cross joins the American Heart Association and National Safety Council in recognizing the significance of this week.

Last year 11 million people took Red Cross health and safety training. Whether you want to be able to help a loved one at home, help someone in your work place, or use your training professionally, Red Cross can give you the knowledge and skills to be able to help. To find out more, contact the Rock River Chapter at: (815) 963-8471. Sign up before Sunday, June 8, to receive a 10% discount on any training course that includes an AED segment.

See the the links below for more on AED and CPR:

Jessica & Rahil talk about CPR, First Aid, AED, and Pet CPR at the Red Cross

March 19, 2008

Watch Jessica and Rahil on WTVO’s Daybreak! Click the link below.

Jess & Rahil on WTVO


Don’t forget to buy your Icehog tickets to support the Red Cross each ticket sold through this link mean we get $4 from each ticket sold!