by Bob Bowker, Incident Commander, Red Cross First Aid Stations
The Los Angeles Region Red Cross will once again provide first aid at the 127th Tournament of Roses Parade on January 1, 2016. More than 150 Red Cross volunteers will staff 13 First Aid Stations along the 5.5 mile route of the Parade, and will work at several Tournament-related events before and after New Year's Day.
The First Aid operation essentially acts as 9-1-1 during the Parade. Calls for assistance are routed to our radio dispatcher, who sends Red Cross teams to respond. Our First Aiders are on foot, so they're able to get to people who need help more quickly than paramedics in an Ambulance. We provide a triage service, and actually treat and release 90% of the patients. Those who need additional medical attention are stabilized until an ambulance can get through the crowds and across the Parade route to help.
All Red Cross First Aiders are trained to give emergency assistance and are certified to deliver oxygen when needed, perform CPR and use an AED. In the past, we've been called upon to do everything from re-bandaging a cut finger to treating marching band blisters, dehydration and broken legs. We've also encountered patients who have passed out, who show signs of suffering a heart attack or stroke, and several years ago, one impending live birth on Colorado Blvd!
For those people who would like to become First Aid volunteers, the Red Cross offers first aid training in several classes around the Region every year. The Basic First Aid class covers essential emergency skills. The Emergency Medical Responder course is more advanced, and CPR and O2 certifications are part of the class.
Red Cross Youth will play an increasingly important role at the 2016 Rose Parade this year. Qualified youth will join the adult First Aiders on roaming teams and in the stations, and will provide treatment up to the level of their certifications.
First Aid Stations will also be set up and staffed by Red Cross volunteers at four days of float decorating from December 27 through the 30th, at the Tournament of Roses Bandfest on December 29 and 30, and at three days of float viewing following the Parade.
Organizers expect close to 1 million people to line the Parade Route again this year, and an estimated 100,000 people will attend Float Viewing after the Parade - and Red Cross will be there for it all.
If you are interested in participating, mark your calendar for the orientation at 8:00am on December 5 at the San Gabriel Pomona Valley Chapter. Email Bob Bowker for details: firstname.lastname@example.org