One regular Saturday, American Red Cross volunteer Jack Cater spent the day teaching cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and first-aid to a room full of a trainees, among them a mother and daughter team. That same evening, a family member living with the newly trained mother and daughter displayed signs of a stroke, indicators that 24 hours earlier would have gone undetected. The first-aid skilled women rushed their loved one to the emergency room in time to save that family member’s life. On a similar Saturday yet another student received Jack’s lifesaving instructions and on Monday a co-worker went into cardiac arrest; Jack’s newly certified pupil took over the situation by assigning response roles to office mates and performed CPR, saving his cubicle buddies life. Jack has collected dozens of similar stories, an easy feat after four decades of training thousands of people.
Red Cross Training Services instructors are a select group of professionals who teach important lifesaving skills to an average of nine million people every year — trainings held at businesses, schools, community centers and select Red Cross chapter offices.
Jack first came to know Red Cross instruction at a very young age: At 12 he took water safety training followed by both junior and senior lifesaving courses at 13 and 16 respectively, certifications which qualified Jack for pool and lake shore lifeguard work when he turned 18. To become a Boy Scout leader in the late 1970’s Jack took Red Cross CPR/First-Aid training, and in 1983 he became a volunteer, setting a goal to become a CPR/First-Aid instructor.
As a Red Cross volunteer, Jack enjoys being a part of an organization that provides service to thousands if not millions of people every year and remains equally dedicated to helping people to be prepared in the event of emergencies. As an instructor, Jack enjoys imparting information that can be applied to everyday real life.
“You never know when someone is going to need help — friends, family and passers-by are almost always the first people at the scene of an emergency” Jack said, “If you are trained and refresh your knowledge every few years to remain confident, you can make the difference if someone lives or dies.”
Jack has applied his teachings both on himself and to complete strangers. On occasion he has needed stop cuts on his body from excessive bleeding, and in other instances Jack provided CPR to strangers in cardiac arrest or other forms of distress.
“We are conditioned to think emergency response is the job of police and emergency responders, but they are not at the scene immediately and only come after someone calls them, a response that can take 10 to 15 minutes. If nothing else, learn CPR and first-aid for your family.”