American Red Cross volunteer nurse Jana Cearlock RN found herself challenged earlier this week to administer lifesaving assistance to a Hurricane Dorian evacuee at the Red Cross evacuation shelter at Lavilla School of the Arts in Jacksonville, Florida.
As Cearlock was about to depart the shelter, one of the residents collapsed. She immediately responded and quickly realized that the collapsed resident was not breathing. “My world went really quiet … I’m so sorry,” were her thoughts she said, knowing that chest compressions could break ribs. “I began compressions and could hear ribs crunching. … The shelter manager was standing behind me, and I could hear them praying,” Cearlock continued.
Another Red Crosser, Aaron Arrants, administered rescue breaths as Cearlock continued chest compressions. “After several rounds of compressions I could see that his face began to change to pink. Go, go, keep going, were my thoughts,” Cearlock remembered. Other workers arrived with an AED (Automated External Defibrillator). Cearlock hooked it up and found that his heart was beating and did not need to be shocked. Soon, local EMTs arrived and transferred him to a local hospital.
Cearlock is a former emergency room nurse for the U.S. Army and has 35 years experience as a pediatric nurse. She currently works at Deaconess Hospital in Evansville, Indiana. She is using her vacation time to deploy with the Red Cross response to Hurricane Dorian. She has 10 grandchildren and is missing both her daughter and granddaughter’s birthday while deployed.
She and her husband live on a farm in Southern Illinois. “I volunteer with the Red Cross because it centers me,” she said. “We get so busy with our everyday lives, stepping out of my comfort zone centers me back to what I want to be.”
Aaron Arrants describes himself as a guy with lots of different training experiences. “I’m like a Swiss army knife with credentials,” he said. Credentials include those of Emergency Medical Technician and those for a wilderness emergency first responder. He serves in the Air Force Reserves as a member of an Air Force Combat Search and Rescue Team with the 920th Rescue Wing.“It’s sorta like 9-1-1 for special forces,” he said.
Arrants grew up and currently lives in the Jacksonville area. He volunteers with the Red Cross because he feels it’s his civic duty. “It’s something to do to change peoples lives instead of silly stuff. I did my research, this is cool. I love the family atmosphere,” Arrants said..