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Michigan Residents Save Lives with Emergency Skills

One quarter of Americans say they’ve been in a situation where someone needed CPR. If you were one of them, would you know what to do?

Emergencies often arise without warning. Recently, the American Red Cross honored Mitchell Taplin and Kevin Trayer from the Kalamazoo, Michigan area with the Certificate of Merit, for their efforts to save the life of another when an emergency arose.

SKILLS SAVE LIVES Mitchell Taplin, 15, was at a youth lock-in when his friend started choking on a piece of candy. Right away, Mitchell started performing abdominal thrusts on his friend until he coughed up the candy. Because of the Red Cross training Mitchell received, he was able to save his friend’s life.

“It was one of those moments where you don’t know what to do or say, and at this moment I was breathless, literally breathless,” said Collin, the choking victim. “Luckily my friend Mitchell came over to see me choking on a skittle. He also luckily knew how to help.” 

Kevin Trayer, 53, is a supervisor at a local Post Office. While at work one day this past January, Kevin received a phone call that a co-worker needed help. The co-worker had stopped breathing and collapsed. Kevin called 9-1-1 and rushed to the victim.

“I found the victim in his chair with his airway closed. I moved him to the floor and began CPR,” said Trayer. He performed CPR for several minutes before the Kalamazoo Department of Public Safety arrived and took over with the help of an AED.

Life EMS took Trayer’s co-worker to the hospital where he was released five days later. Trayer, also a retired EMT, had previously taken a Red Cross Adult CPR/AED and First Aid course and was able to save his co-worker that day because of the skills he learned in that class.

People who take Red Cross courses learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies – whether it’s checking for breathing, performing basic first aid or even calling for help, knowing how to quickly respond in these critical moments helps save lives.

The Certificate of Merit is the highest award given to an individual who helps save or sustain a life by using skills and knowledge they learned in a Red Cross training course. Each award bears the signature of the President of the United States, who is the organization’s honorary chairman,

TAKE A CLASS One quarter of Americans say they’ve been in a situation where someone may have needed CPR. If you were one of them, would you know what to do? The ability to perform CPR can make a lifesaving difference when someone suffers a cardiac or breathing emergency.

The Red Cross trains millions of people each year and offers several online and classroom training options, from the web-based Family First Aid and CPR course for those who don’t require certification to First Aid and CPR/AED courses with 2-year certifications.

In addition to training, the Red Cross can help you obtain an AED for your home, business or organization and offers AED program management, maintenance and service.

DOWNLOAD FIRST AID APP People can also download the free Red Cross First Aid app for smart phones and tablets. The app puts expert advice for everyday emergencies at your fingertips. Available for iPhone and Android devices, the app gives you instant access to the information you need to know to handle the most common first aid emergencies.

Features include:

  • Step-by-step instructions for everyday first aid scenarios
  • 9-1-1 call button
  • Videos and animations to make learning fun and easy
  • Safety and preparedness tips for all kinds of emergencies
  • Sharable badges earned through interactive quizzes
  • Red Cross training can give people the skills and confidence to act in an emergency and save a life. To learn more about available Red Cross training or to register for a course, visit

    Tags: CPR/AED.
    About the American Red Cross:
    The American Red Cross shelters, feeds and provides emotional support to victims of disasters; supplies about 40 percent of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; provides international humanitarian aid; and supports military members and their families. The Red Cross is a not-for-profit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to perform its mission. For more information, please visit or, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.