Earlier this month, the American Red Cross New Jersey Region held a PreparePalooza to train volunteers to build a more prepared and resilient community. More than 60 volunteers attended this disaster capacity training event to gain more knowledge in disaster response and emergency preparedness.
Opening up the event was a presentation to lay the foundation of what preparedness is, and how the cycle is about prepare, respond, and recover. The Red Cross has such training in being “Red Cross Ready” in cases of hazards such as home fires, hurricanes, and flooding.
Volunteers also received Hands-Only CPR training, which covered how to perform CPR using only chest compressions, presented by Jason Fermin and Alan Smith. Volunteers learned how to identify if a person is conscious and if needed, give continuous chest compressions until help arrives.
Smith, board chairman of the Red Cross Central New Jersey Board of Directors, showed a great sense of appreciation to be able to bring this training technique to the day’s volunteers. He noted the biggest takeaways from the class were that volunteers “gained self-confidence should a situation develop where they are in need of doing hands-only CPR.”
During the course, there was active involvement after demonstration of what it would feel like to do chest compressions. Using the aid of dense foam rubber compression tools to mimic the actions of chest compressions, each volunteer had the opportunity to continue for 30 seconds of compressions, being mindful of the speed in which to press down, as well as for the recoil before another compression.
Alan explained “it is tactile, they can have a sense of what it might feel like when they have to push on the chest. Plus, it has the approximate two inches that they have to press down onto the center of the chest, so they have a sense of real feel.”
Disaster Services volunteer Suhayb Islam has been with the Red Cross for more than six years. “I initially started as a youth volunteer and continued through college. This course was helpful in understanding on how to keep up with the beat and focus on that,” he said. “I am CPR certified. A key takeaway here is to continuously build up the muscle memory and it can be a refresh.”
Prepare-Palooza brought together new and seasoned volunteers for a day of training, fun, meeting new faces, seeing old friends, and interacting with one another as a part of the Red Cross family.
By Danielle Tasco, American Red Cross New Jersey Region Volunteer