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My Red Cross Story: Being Prepared Pays Divedends

Volunteer Story Minn-kota Region

The Red Cross training she received is not taken lightly by Diedre Olmsted, a Bismarck resident who helped save a life this fall, an event she says still impacts her every day.

In mid-October, Diedre Olmsted was traveling home when she observed a roll over in her rearview mirror. Without thinking, she turned her car around, with the impulse to help.

“On instinct we called 911 and pulled up to the scene not sure what we were going to see,” Olmsted said.

Olmsted, an employee trainer for the American Red Cross, teaches first-aid and CPR classes and has been CPR certified for six years.

When she arrived on the scene she saw that one passenger was severely injured and was trying to crawl out of the vehicle. Based on her American Red Cross training, she knew that he shouldn’t move and went to assess the situation.

“Other people were standing around that didn’t know what to do,” Olmsted said. “But I knew it was going to be okay as my adrenaline kicked in, with my first reaction to introduce myself as a Red Cross volunteer.”

She told the victim not to move, applied basic first aid, and kept him and the non-injured driver talking. She stayed with them until the ambulance arrived, keeping them active without moving, to prevent the onset of shock.

“After the fire department was able to extricate them from their car, we went on our way,” Olmsted said. “The incident stayed with me for a few days, when I saw them on the news, and I was able to find them on Facebook.”

Olmsted met the family a few days later, and learned the severity of the injuries the victims had suffered. If not for Olmsted, the man’s broken vertebrate might have left him paralyzed.

“The family told me that I was their angel at their side and how blessed they were,” Olmsted said. “Ironically, I feel I am the fortunate one. It humbles me to know that it is something that I never want to see again but would do again a million times over.”

“It gave me perspective on how important my role is as a Red Cross trainer,” Olmsted said. “The next class I taught meant so much more.”

To register for a first aid or CPR class, or for more information on courses offered through the Red Cross visit www.redcross.org