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Volunteers help Save a Life at Mardi Gras Parade

You never know when you might have the opportunity to save someone’s life. - Kay Wilkins

A story with a happy ending never gets old: A life was saved because of an Automated External Defibrillator and a quick response by American Red Cross volunteers.

Prompt action by Red Cross volunteers, a bystander and New Orleans Emergency Medical Services likely saved the life of a man who suffered a life-threatening event just before the Hermes Parade at St. Charles and Napoleon Avenues.

A doctor in the crowd began performing CPR on the man after he collapsed. Red Cross volunteers arrived from a nearby first aid station with an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED).

Three Red Cross volunteers including Colin Niselman, using the AED shocked the patient twice, restarting his heart. Paramedics from New Orleans EMS arrived and continued advanced life support while transporting the victim to a nearby hospital.

According to New Orleans EMS officials, latter the same evening, the patient was awake, alert and doing well.

“We are grateful for the outstanding and immediate responses by the doctor who initiated CPR, our volunteers and New Orleans EMS, all of whom were instrumental in helping to save the individual’s life,” Kay W. Wilkins American Red Cross South Louisiana CEO said. “Our thoughts are with the cardiac arrest victim for a full recovery.”

American Red Cross volunteers provide first aid services at public events like the recent Super Bowl 47 and Mardi Gras. Volunteers, who are certified in first aid and CPR, serve as the emergency response front line for thousands of people attending parades. The volunteers work under the supervision of the New Orleans Emergency Medical Services, which transports patients to nearby hospitals if additional medical assistance is necessary.

“You never know when you might have the opportunity to save someone’s life,” Wilkins said, adding that for those interested in learning CPR, the Red Cross provides frequent CPR classes.

The next class in New Orleans is Feb. 14, 2013. Register or find more classes online at