Monday, August 30, 2010

Another real-life CPR/AED situation-Would you know what to do??

At Seven Peaks Water Park this weekend, an EMT and a few lifeguards were called to help a man who appeared to be unconscious.

Here is the story through the eyes of Jeff, the EMT who responded to the situation…

I responded to a Lifeguard's code 3 whistle on top of the slide tower and came on scene to a middle aged male lying on the floor. His face was blue and he was gasping for air every 20 seconds or so. His eyes were open and he seemed slightly conscious, but we could not find a pulse and CPR was started immediately. A patron who was an RN and on scene started compressions and one of the lifeguards was giving breaths. I made sure someone was calling 911 and contacted first aid over the radio to bring the AED. After several cycles of CPR, we hooked up the AED, which analyzed the victim and did not advise a shock. Another lifeguard arrived on scene and helped with compressions.

The interesting thing about the whole situation was that it wasn't your typical unconscious and not breathing scenario. At times he seemed like he was coming to. His eyes were open most of the time and he would gasp for air randomly. In real life scenarios, it isn't as easy as one would think to assess the victim.

After more CPR cycles the AED re-analyzed the victim and advised to shock. We shocked and continued CPR until paramedics arrived and took over the scene. They hooked him up to their monitor and stopped CPR. It seems that before he left he had become stable enough that CPR was no longer needed, which was really good to see.

Would you know what to do? Sign up for a class online or call our Preparedness Health and Safety Department 801-323-7029.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hurricane Katrina-5 Years Later

It has been 5 years since Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and changed the lives of so many people. I was living in Utah at the time and felt so disconnected from the disaster. I had no idea what was really going on. All we saw here were news bits and horrible images of people with their belongings over their heads, neck deep in water. I heard stories of looting and chaos, tragedy on top of tragedy. It wasn’t until May of 2008 that I truly understood the devastating effects of the storm.

I had the opportunity to travel with my university to the South on a Civil Rights Immersion. We visited historical sites in Alabama, Georgia and Louisiana including Martin Luther King Jr’s church, the Edmund Pettus Bridge where African Americans marched on their way to Montgomery to fight for their right to vote, as well as the graves of MLK and his wife Coretta Scott King.

After touring these Civil Rights sites, we travelled to Biloxi, Mississippi where we began a week long Habitat for Humanity build. Just prior to entering Mississippi we stayed in New Orleans and toured the Ninth Ward. I have never seen so much rubble and desertion. What we were told was once a house amounted to three or four cement steps leading to a pile of siding, wood, and debris. Only a handful of the houses were even beginning to get rebuilt and the effects of the high waters and tremendous winds were evident all around us.

Trailer in front of an unlivable home in the 9th Ward
We found the French Quarter lively and bustling with tourists, beads, and street performers, yet not ten minutes away in the surrounding neighborhoods people were still trying to get their life back together, if they hadn’t abandoned their home all together. In Biloxi we found a similar situation. FEMA trailers lined a street of boarded up homes; the houses we were working on needed re-sanding, re-painting, and re-doing.
Rebuilding in Biloxi

And everyone had a story. Where they were when the storm hit; what they were doing; where they were evacuated to; and what happened to their family. These stories made my heart ache. It was finally real. The struggle, the hardships, the tragedy, came rushing over me as I attempted to ease their pain while wiping away my own tears.

I witnessed just a glimpse into the lives of some of those affected by Katrina. You can also read reflections from other Red Cross volunteers who were helping in the shelters, working behind the scenes, and who were there on that fateful day five years ago.

For more information from the Red Cross on Katrina five years later click here.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

How will you prepare??

Are you prepared for anything?? September is National Preparedness Month! Which gives us all a great excuse to be prepared. As the Red Cross teaches, and as I hope to convey in this blog, being prepared can save lives!

So how will you prepare for September? Will you update your 72-hour kit? Or if you don't have one yet, will you make one or buy one? Will you go over your fire escape plan with your family? Will you schedule a Red Cross presentation at your church, school, or company?

Share your preparedness tips with us and stay tuned for our preparedness posts throughout the month of September.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Have you taken Pet First Aid?

I have never been a dog person. In fact, the only pets we ever had growing up were rabbits who stayed outside and were hardly considered family (especially because none of them lasted more than a year). My sister is getting married next month and we have a new addition to our family. Not only my soon to be brother-in-law Zack but his son, Fenway. Fenway is a beautiful chocolate lab who spends evenings and sometimes weekends hanging out with us when Zack is over.

I didn't used to like Fenway, in fact I spent many a day complaining about the hair he left in our living room and his bowl of water in our kitchen that I tripped on a few times. Now I think I'm in love!

Fenway is part of our family now and the other day we even snuggled on the recliner together. And believe it or not I didn't freak out when he gave me a wet sloppy kiss.

Because of this "revelation" of sorts I am now going to sign up for the Red Cross pet first aid class and have encouraged Zack to do the same. I even printed out a disaster safety checklist for pets. And now I am seriously considering getting a dog of my own.

So if you're best friend, son or daughter is an animal, it would be wise for you to take our pet first aid class and learn how to save their life. Just like all parents should know Infant/Child CPR, all pet owners should know first aid for their animals. So sign up for a class today, or contact our Preparedness Health and Safety Department at 801-323-7029.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Back to School, Back to School!

While summer is drawing to a close many students are getting ready to go back to school (some of you may even be starting classes today!)

I remember fondly the first day of school, picking out what to wear (I had a uniform, so my options were limited, but I was always accessorizing that terrible plaid skirt), deciding which pencils and notebooks to bring, nervously chewing on my hair as I met my teacher for the first time.

And then the first day jitters were over and I made friends with the new kids or chatted up old friends I hadn't seen all summer. Slowly I began learning multiplication tables and reading new books, not simply overtaking the entire playground on the tether ball court.

Then there was that one day towards the beginning of the school year when we would have fire and earthquake drills! We would get under our desks as the simulated sounds of the earth moving and things crashing began playing over the loud speaker. When the fire alarm went off we quietly lined up by the door and made it out of the building to our meeting spot.

I never remember being frightened that one day we actually had a real fire in the faculty kitchen. We lined up just as we had practiced so many times before and got to our spot as we watched the firefighters come with their hoses and put out the blaze. I was grateful for those practices that day and knew that the school would keep me safe.

So as you, your kids, your family, and your friends head back to school for another year make sure you do everything you can to Be Prepared. And get everything you need for your younger students or college bound kids at the Red Cross store.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Do You Know a Red Cross Hero?

The Red Cross is searching for heroes in the community! Do you know anyone who went above and beyond the call of duty? Who used their CPR skills to save a life? Who has done great work to keep the community safe? Let us know if you do!

Here's some inspiration; a story about three teenagers who helped save a young boy who was trapped under a car; a story about a nurse who provided help when a tour bus rolled over!

Video Courtesy of

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Media Coverage on Red Cross Classes and Disaster Response

The Red Cross in Utah has had an extremely busy month! We helped 261 Utahns after 27 disaster responses. These included single family and mult-family fires as well as providing food and supplies to emergency responders during large scale emergencies. Multiple media outlets picked up this story including KSLABC, and KUTV.

We are also conducting Babysitting Bootcamp this week in which nine young babysitters will have five Red Cross certifications including CPR and First Aid. Big Buddha and the Fox 13 news crew came out to film live from the class. ABC also picked up the story on our awesome babysitters!

You can donate, take a class, or volunteer with the Utah Red Cross!

You can also check out our YouTube site for more videos!

Video Courtesy of

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Disaster Drill- August 6, 2010

Guest blogger: Eric Kiltz

On Aug 5th and 6th, 2010, volunteers from the Greater Salt Lake Area and Mountain Valley chapters of the American Red Cross were on the scene of a mock earthquake drill in Sandy, UT. The drill was sponsored by Metro Fire Department’s Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) team with all of Metro Fire’s member agencies participating.

Assisting Metro Fire were members of the US Army and Air Force providing communications support, search and rescue assistance and hazardous materials detection. Also assisting was Sandy City Public Works department which was kind enough to refuel two American Red Cross ERV’s at no cost. The American Red Cross was on scene in a support capacity to provide food and snacks to rescuers. Approximately 120 personal were on site for this drill.

This drill simulated a 7.4 magnitude earthquake striking the Salt Lake Valley with significant damage to a community center in Sandy with many victims trapped. During this exercise, the American Red Cross served lunch and dinner on both days. The Southern Baptist Convention graciously provided and cooked two of the meals that the American Red Cross then served to rescuers.

The American Red Cross responds to disasters such as this and on smaller and larger scales every day of the year. Our volunteer disaster relief workers are always available and willing to help out displaced victims with food, shelter and clothing.

Check out the awesome photos that Eric took at the drill! They are up on our Flickr site.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Danger Will Robinson, Danger!

Ever seen Lost in Space? Will Robinson had a robot to tell him when danger was near!

Until someone invents a robot to tell us when an emergency or disaster will happen, make sure you have all of the necessary supplies and information to Be Prepared!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Earthquakes! Are you prepared for the "big one"?

This past weekend I had an adventure of a lifetime. My family and I went on a river trip down the Green River for three days. The scenery was breathtaking and there was so much to see. From petroglyphs to markings from the first explorers of the river back in 1838. There were white water rapids as well as relaxing currents to float through.

The majority of our time on the river I was staring up at the red rocks and the Uinta Mountain Range. We also passed by a couple different faults including the Mitton Park Fault. Seeing the distinct lines of the fault (and of course volunteering full-time here at the Red Cross) immediately had my mind racing about earthquakes.

Mitton Park Fault along the Green River
“They” keep saying we’re due for a huge earthquake. In fact, search and rescue teams and fire fighters are doing a big earthquake drill out in Sandy as we speak (Red Cross volunteers will provide meals for the teams over the next two days.)

So what have you done to prepare yourself and your family for the “big one” that is supposed to affect most of the Wasatch Front? Do you have a 72-hour kit? Is your home earthquake safe? Are you Red Cross Ready?

Become prepared for the “big one” or any disaster with tips and tools on our website. To purchase preparedness kits and safety tools, check out our online store. And share your tips and tricks with others here on the blog or through our Facebook fan page.

Make it a family event to Be Red Cross Ready!!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Disaster Volunteer Returns from Helping with Texas Floods

Disaster volunteer Evelyn Halstead recently returned from a deployment to Laredo, Texas where she worked with the American Red Cross mental health team. Texas experienced severe flooding along the Rio Grande and other rivers. Many people were evacuated and their homes were destroyed.

Evelyn lives in Parowan, Utah and has been on numerous deployments all around the country during her 18-year career as an American Red Cross volunteer. As a mental health worker, Evelyn helps people who may have just lost their jobs, their homes and all of their material possessions. In some cases, disaster victims even lose loved ones. She listens to their stories, offers a shoulder to cry on and a hug to comfort them.

While in Laredo, Evelyn worked with the mental health team passing out comfort kits, water and food. She also helped in the Red Cross shelters. Many of the displaced families and individuals in the shelters were “hopeless and helpless,” Evelyn said. Her duties were to make sure those affected by the flooding had their immediate and essential needs met, including food, clothing and shelter.

Evelyn and the Red Cross team were travelling in an Emergency Response Vehicle passing out water and food in the neighborhoods and met one mother and her two daughters who were unexpectedly homeless due to the flooding. Because they had flood insurance some agencies did not offer any assistance for them at all. The mom was fortunate to have the insurance but had not yet received any of the benefits. When Evelyn arrived at her home, she was able to give them all something to eat and drink. The woman was incredibly grateful to Evelyn and the Red Cross team.

With all of the suffering, devastation and loss that Evelyn witnessed in Texas, on her previous deployments around the country and here in Utah, she has a heavy heart “You go in and you give what comfort you can and then you leave it there with them.”