Happy Fridays!

Here in Health & Safety I get to communicate daily with a lot of interesting people around the community. Usually it’s by e-mail or phone, and sometimes—if I’m lucky—through the comments of this blog!

Fridays, however, are a little bit different. I, along with a few of my colleagues here, spend many Friday mornings at local chamber of commerce networking meetings. These are some of the few times that I get the chance to talk to people face-to-face about the mission, goals, and accomplishments of the OTC, which I really enjoy doing. (In the interest of full disclosure I should mention that I also thoroughly enjoy the free breakfasts.)

A couple of weeks ago I got to attend the Beaverton Chamber’s networking meeting, where I was given the opportunity to “spotlight” the OTC (I was also given as many fabulous scones as I could eat). They gave me a microphone, a spot on the stage, and two minutes to tell the 100+ people in attendance whatever the heck I wanted to about the Red Cross. Whenever I am given an opportunity like this I have trouble figuring out just what to say in only two minutes. Do I talk about the growing importance and convenience of AEDs (automated external defibrillators), indispensable first aid and CPR training, the great work the people in blood services do…

I decided there were two aspects of what we do that I needed to highlight above all others:

  • Many companies call us to schedule first aid/CPR/AED training after an incident, having not been prepared for it; don’t let that happen to you!
  • When you participate in Red Cross safety training, you allow the OTC to continue to provide invaluable services within our community.

The first point is fairly self-explanatory, but true nonetheless. I have various clients that have only contacted me about CPR training after one of their employees dropped to the ground and no one knew what to do. They were hoping to avoid a repeat if something happened again and decided that safety training was the best way to do so. I am always happy to help clients in these situations, but how much better would it be if we would all get trained before something happened?!

The second fact is the most important to me, and the one that I am most proud of as an employee of the OTC. I love to be able to tell people about the fact that the Red Cross is an organization run by volunteers—that for every one of me (paid employee), there are about 30 volunteers. These volunteers, (among doing other activities) respond to fire calls 24-hours a day around the Portland area to give food, drink, clothes, and shelter to those in need. Nearly every morning when I get to work I get an e-mail telling me about all the fires in the last 24-hour period that the Disaster Action Team responded to, and how many families or individuals were assisted. As quick as the e-mail is, I love it—it reminds me of the bigger picture I’m helping to paint by helping businesses schedule people for the only service we charge for at the OTC (health and safety training).

After my two-minute spotlight had concluded, we had more time to mingle; however, I didn’t get far before there was a line, of sorts, full of people waiting to talk with me. I spoke to a man who was inspired by my spotlight, deciding to get himself trained so that he would be prepared to help his family if they needed it. I spoke with a woman representing an extremely large organization wanting to set up regular safety training classes for her associates. I spoke with a small business owner wanting to take care of his employees. I was overwhelmed that so many people were suddenly willing to jump at the chance to get trained, knowing that their money would help fund such an honorable community effort.

Needless to say (though I’ll say it anyway), it was an extremely satisfying networking meeting. Not all meetings are as productive or exciting as that one was, but they’re all pretty enjoyable (I have yet to attend one that didn’t at least provide some fruit), and that’s due mostly to the fact that I get to talk to people face to face about what I do. It’s always a pleasure to meet other members of the community and find out what drives them as well as tell them what drives me.

Just one more reason to look forward to Fridays!