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Emergency Medical Response Student is Put to Actual Test

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"When I saw the relief in the woman's face, I was proud to have been able to help." Maribel Carmona

The day before graduating from a seven-week Red Cross Emergency Medical Response course at the Arcadia Red Cross, 17-year-old Maribel Carmona was put to an actual test.

On August 21, 2015, Maribel and her mother were heading into a San Dimas store when she spotted an elderly woman standing near the front of the store.  The distressed woman was having problems breathing because the tube on her oxygen tank was disconnected. 

Maribel, a Duarte High School student, confidently walked over to the woman. Following her classroom training, Maribel: introduced herself, stated that she was trained and asked if she could help. The confused stranger was obviously relieved someone had stepped forward.  Maribel made sure the regulator was set properly, reinserted the plastic tubing and adjusted the oxygen to the correct level. The oxygen began to flow. 

This summer’s EMR training class was the largest to date with 32 graduates. Students included Red Cross DAT volunteers, CERT members, EMR employees renewing their certification, as well as numerous new students, like Maribel.  After passing a written and two practical exams, students received certificates in EMR (2 years), Administering Emergency Oxygen (2 years), CPR/AED for Professional Rescuers (2 years) and Blood borne Pathogens (1 year). These volunteers are now eligible to volunteer for Red Cross community first aid events, as well as the 2016 New Year’s Parade first aid activities.

Maribel credits Richard Stewart, one of her co-instructors, with giving her the confidence to not only identify the problem but to walk up and offer assistance.  

“When I saw the oxygen begin to flow again and the relief in the woman’s face, I was so proud to have been able to help,” said Maribel. 

Other course volunteer instructors included Katy Gould, lead instructor, Marla Keeth, Greg Hester and Jeanie Edwards, with guest speakers Bob Bowker covering the Incident Command System and Rose Parade first aid operations, and Pat Mulcahy who discussed radio communications while working a first aid station.

Maribel is happy to be a Red Cross volunteer and plans to join the Community First Aid team and participate with Rose Parade first aid operations.

Article and photo by Roxanne Schorbach, Volunteer and Communications Representative for Community and Rose Parade First Aid