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Emergency Response – It’s about quality, not quantity

CPR WEEK Charles Branson
I didn't think it was anything to spectacular. She needed help and I had the training to help so I did what I could

Dino Ingram is a Red Cross volunteer and contributing writer.

Sometimes, in an urgent situation, it matters less about how much you do, and more about what you do. That was the situation recently, where Chase Branson had the opportunity to use his Red Cross training to help a fellow college student.

Chase would probably be considered an average 18 year old. He loves his grandma’s cooking and the sporty Scion TC. He graduated from Jefferson West High School and is in his second year at Highland Community College. I think you’d agree that he’s pretty “normal” for a college age student.

He spends his summers and the school year as a pool lifeguard. He started in Oskaloosa and is now in his second year watching over guests at the Shawnee North Family Aquatic Center. Last year he went in the water twice, recovering some not-so-strong swimmers and everybody came out ok.

Did I say he’s an average 18-year-old? That can’t be right. Wait a minute while I check my notes…… it is! Definitely not average! First, he’s Red Cross trained in CPR, First Aid, and Lifeguarding. Second, he recently did something that separated him from the ordinary, putting him in the exceptional category as far as 20-somethings and even 30-somethings are concerned.

While attending a campus-wide meeting in the college gym he heard screams behind him. As he looked behind him he saw several girls, standing, pointing and screaming for the Student Life Director.

“I looked where they were pointing and there was a red headed girl having a seizure on the bleachers, slowly sliding down the steps.”

He didn’t grab his cell phone to post a YouTube video! Nor did he stand idly by wondering what to do! His training came in to play!

“I ran over and saw that she was turning blue. I told the Student Life Director, who’d already arrived, that I was certified in first aid and CPR and asked if I could help.”

First, Chase followed the directors' guidance and got her off the bleachers. He then secured her head to align her spine and checked her breathing and pulse. She was alive, but unconscious. The girl had suffered a seizure, collapsed face-first on the bleachers and broke her nose.

She woke up shortly thereafter, but needed a consistent, confident and reassuring presence. Chase provided that!

“She couldn't remember where she was. I asked her questions. She started hyperventilating and getting frustrated because she didn't know the answers. So, I asked more basic questions, like her mom’s name, and she calmed down.”

Chase waited with her until EMS arrived, then he sat down and relaxed. He humbly recalls the following. “I didn't think it was anything to spectacular. She needed help and I had the training to help so I did what I could.”

While it may have seemed inconsequential to Chase, I’m sure that the girl that he helped, thought differently. He actively responded while others looked on. He used his training to ensure that a victim was safe and comforted until medical personnel arrived. There’s nothing normal or common about this young man’s response.

Chase, it’s a privilege for me to share your story.