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Volunteers Promote Preparedness at NJ Health and Fitness Expo

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Events like this make it possible to reach thousands with information that can help keep them safe.

Volunteers from the American Red Cross New Jersey Region and the American Red Cross of Greater New York teamed up to help families become better prepared for emergencies and disasters at the NBC 4 New York Telemundo 47 Health and Fitness Expo on Saturday, May 14 and Sunday, May 15 at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford.


Hector Pereira was among the more than 40 Red Cross volunteers on hand at the Expo. Traveling all the way from the Bronx, Hector was excited to spend the weekend helping New York and New Jersey families learn about preparedness. 

“It’s great to be here helping teach families about the importance of fire safety and emergency preparedness,” Hector said standing alongside the Red Cross Emergency Response Vehicle. “Events like this make it possible to reach thousands of people with information that can help keep them safe.”

On the field, volunteers distributed bags containing preparedness, fire safety and first aid information to families who were waiting on line for the rock climbing wall, zip line and other activities available at the Expo. At the bottom of the zip line, a Red Crosser handed a bag to a mom holding a baby who was waiting for her two young boys to come down the zip line. After their ride, the boys made their way back onto the field, full of excitement and running in circles around their mom ready for their next Expo adventure. 

“Any chance there’s first aid information in here?” she questioned with a smile. Grateful for the information, the family headed to the next activity with their preparedness bag in hand. 

Up on the MetLife Stadium concourse, Red Cross volunteers demonstrated how the free Red Cross First Aid App can help families be prepared for any bumps and bruises they may experience this summer. The app features simple step-by-step instructions for everyday first aid scenarios to help families know what to do in the event on an emergency. 

“With summer right around the corner, many will be enjoying all sorts of outdoor activities,” said Dennis Bunting, American Red Cross Health and Safety instructor. “Being prepared for emergencies that may arise is crucial to having a fun and safe summer. The Red Cross First Aid App puts simple lifesaving information for emergencies – including, insect stings, heat stroke, broken bones and more – right at your fingertips, so people can provide the best care possible until medical help arrives.”

On Sunday afternoon, the Red Cross offered a Citizen CPR course where people learned how to properly perform chest compressions. People of all ages lined up and got down on their knees on the grass in front the of the Expo main stage and carefully interlaced their fingers and practiced performing chest compressions. 

Hands-only CPR can increase the likelihood of surviving cardiac emergencies that occur outside medical settings. Hands-only CPR is a potentially lifesaving technique involving no mouth-to-mouth contact. It is best used in emergencies where someone has seen another person suddenly collapse.

During the summer months of June, July and August, on average, about two fewer blood donors schedule an appointment to give blood at each Red Cross blood drive than what patients need. Throughout the day Saturday, dozens of Expo goers stopped by the Red Cross bloodmobile to make a donation to help ensure patients have the lifesaving blood they need.

Brandon Foster traveled from Maryland to meet up with his family and enjoy a fun-filled day at the Expo. When he saw the Red Cross bloodmobile parked on the MetLife Stadium Plaza, he decided to roll up his sleeve and donate a pint of blood in the spirit of health, fitness and giving back. 

Over the course of the weekend, hundreds of people took time during the Expo festivities to write a note of thanks to members of the U.S. Armed Forces and veterans at the Red Cross booth. While adults signed cards, children came in droves to draw pictures for the troops.

Lizkarla and her brother Harold of New Brunswick were among the children who drew carefully designed pictures to say ‘Thank You’ to those who serve. 

A Volunteer’s Perspective – The Gift of Thank You

“It’s the Coast Guard seal,” Harold said proudly holding up his drawing as his sister decorated her paper with pink and purple hearts and flowers. “I hope they like it.” 

Their parents waited penitently until they had finished their drawing and dropped them in the Mail for Heroes box, which contained more than 700 cards and drawings created by others at the Expo. 

GET PREPARED The Red Cross wants everyone to be prepared for potential disasters and other emergencies. These events can strike suddenly, anywhere and at any time. Taking steps now can help make a difference during a disaster or other emergency. For information on how you can prepare you and your family for disasters visit

Download the free Red Cross Mobile Apps. The Red Cross suite of free mobile apps puts expert first aid and disaster preparedness information in the palm of your hand, including what to do before, during and after disasters. The apps are available in English and Spanish for iPhone and Android devices. See all the Red Cross Mobile Apps and their features at

Sign up for a Red Cross First Aid, CPR/AED course. Learn lifesaving skills by taking a Red Cross course. With an emphasis on hands-on learning, the CPR/AED course teaches how to properly administer CPR and utilize an automated external defibrillator (AED) to provide immediate care during a cardiac or breathing emergency until medical personnel arrive. Learn how to respond to common first aid emergencies including cuts; burns; head, neck and spinal injuries; and more during the First Aid course. Find a course near you.