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American Red Cross to Host ‘Gabrielle Giffords Honorary Save-a-Life Saturday’

To honor Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and all those involved in the Tucson tragedy, the American Red Cross will offer free lifesaving training at more than 100 locations across the country on Saturday, March 19.

The training will last 45 minutes to one hour, and will include instruction in hands-only CPR, controlling external bleeding and managing shock. A list of communities participating in the event can be found at Participants can contact their local Red Cross chapter for specific class times, locations and registration information.

“The tragedy in Tucson is a reminder of how important it is for everyone to know first aid and CPR,” said Gail McGovern, president and CEO of the American Red Cross. “As this tragic event unfolded, several bystanders knew these vital skills, which helped save the lives of many victims, including Congresswoman Giffords. This inspired us to offer this training in order to help save lives in communities nationwide.”

“Congresswoman Giffords is alive today in part because a heroic individual was trained in basic first aid skills,” said Pia Carusone, the congresswoman’s chief of staff. “Training every American in these critical skills is one of the ways that we can ensure that good can come from the horrific events of January 8. You never know when you too might be in a position to save a life. We are very appreciative of the Red Cross for putting on this inspired event in locations around the country, and we encourage every American to get trained on March 19.”

Although most emergencies are not as large as the one in Tucson, it is important for the public to be prepared for ones that can happen at home, the office or at school. In fact, a 2010 Red Cross survey found that one in four people (27 percent) have found themselves in a situation where someone needed CPR. Recent research also shows that if more people learned hands-only CPR, we could increase the likelihood of surviving cardiac emergencies that occur outside a hospital by putting more victims within a few steps of lifesaving assistance.

The Red Cross is able to provide this free training through the generous support of Walgreens and Safeway.

“Some of our health care professionals saw first-hand during the Tucson tragedy the value of knowing CPR,” said Greg Wasson, Walgreens President and CEO. “This is invaluable and important training that we’re proud to help provide in partnership with the American Red Cross and in honor of Rep. Giffords as she continues her recovery. Every person trained is a potential life-saver.”

“We can think of no better way to honor Congresswoman Giffords and the other Tucson victims than to equip a greater number of citizens with life savings skills,” said Safeway Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Steve Burd. “We are honored to be a partner in this important national endeavor and commend the Red Cross for leading it.”

Also on March 19, the Red Cross is premiering a special set of videos to teach CPR and first aid skills. Those unable to attend a Save-a-Life Saturday event can also visit to see lifesaving skills being taught. The public can also contact their local Red Cross chapter to find out when full CPR and first aid classes are offered at other times.