Greenwich, Conn. (November 28, 2023) – Accidents and emergencies can happen to anyone, anytime. This holiday season, the Red Cross encourages everyone to learn first aid, CPR and how to use an AED so they can act in an emergency. Every second counts, so it is critical for people to know what to do until medical help arrives. So far this year, across the country, we’ve honored more than 341 individuals with a national Red Cross Lifesaving Award for their heroic efforts to help save more than 171 lives, people like Michael McCauley of Greenwich, Conn.
Michael McCauley completed an American Red Cross First Aid and CPR class in 2016. After a car accident outside his home on March 6, 2022, he provided lifesaving support and assistance thanks to his training. For his remarkable and heroic actions, McCauley received the American Red Cross Certificate of Merit earlier this year. This is the highest award given to an individual (or team) who saves or sustains a life by using skills and knowledge learned in an American Red Cross Training Services course. The certificate bears the signatures of the president of the United States, who is the honorary chair of the American Red Cross, and the chairperson of the American Red Cross National Board.
Stephanie Dunn Ashley, CEO of the Metro NY North Chapter said, “At the American Red Cross, we encourage everyone to take the time to prepare themselves and their family. Completing a CPR and first aid class can help you support your neighbors in time of need. And as Mike’s story shows, you never know when you will need to spring into action. Congratulations, Mike!”
This is McCauley’s story:
"When I looked out the front window I saw a Jeep Wrangler— at this point now upside down, on the roof – sliding down Putnam Ave," McCauley said.
After assessing the situation, McCauley asked his girlfriend to call 9-1-1 and then jumped over the 4-foot fence that separated their yard and the road. He approached the car and forced open the driver’s-side door to get a better view inside the car. That is when he saw a young woman awkwardly trying to sit up, in a huge puddle of blood.
He positioned himself with his hands around the woman’s waist and slowly pulled her from the car. He noticed his grip was slipping and then realized that the woman's left arm was missing. It had been severed just below the shoulder.
Then, recalling his training, he did a few things to help sustain her life. With the help of another man he called to assist, McCauley used his belt to construct a tourniquet around the nub of her shoulder to stop the bleeding. The woman was in shock, and McCauley noticed that she was starting to shiver, so he grabbed a nearby jacket to cover her.
Providing care, treating for shock, using first aid and stopping the bleeding were all critical life-saving steps McCauley took as he waited for the professionals to arrive. The police and fire departments had responded along with EMS (Emergency Medical Services), and the paramedics were able to get the woman onto a stretcher and take her to the hospital in time to save her life.
You can learn lifesaving skills by signing up for a class at www.redcross.org/class.
Click here to learn how to perform hands-only CPR.
Do you know someone who saved a life? Nominate them for an award at www.lifesavingawards.org.