Right Place, Right Time, Right Skills

Sometimes the planets align and the right people with the right skills are in the right place at the right time.  In November, that’s exactly what happened in Vancouver, Washington, at the office of Professional Care Educators, LLC. Their office is located directly upstairs from the American Red Cross Cascades Region’s Southwest Washington office, and the staff learned quickly the Red Cross can be a very good neighbor. Several co-workers from Professional Care Educators rushed downstairs and into the Red Cross office, seeking immediate aid for a co-worker who they believed was suffering from a stroke. 

Red Cross staffers dropped everything and jumped into action, rushing upstairs to help. Upon arrival at the scene, the Red Cross responder team delegated emergency response tasks such as triage, calling medics, locating the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and performing a stroke assessment. These are all skills anyone can learn through Red Cross training classes.

Kimberly Sutton, a volunteer from Kelso who happened to be in the office that day, made sure 911 was called and kept other staff calm. Two Walla Walla University nursing students, Chris Wagner and Kenneth Schaffer, who were completing training at the Red Cross office that day began a stroke assessment.  Although Schaffer and Wagner were alerted that the patient had suffered a stroke in the past, Schaffer could tell immediately that the patient was experiencing heart attack symptoms.  As Schaffer talked with the patient, he reported a crushing feeling in his chest as well as back pain. 

“The verbal assessment Kimberly Sutton was doing was distracting him, which kept his stress level down,” Shaffer recalled.  

After a few minutes, medics arrived and transported the man for treatment.  But the Red Cross follow up didn’t stop when the ambulance left.

Days later, Wagner visited the Professional Care Educator’s office to find out how the man was doing. Amazingly, he was already back to work. “He was very grateful, shook my hand, and thanked us for our quick reaction,” Wagner said.

The gratitude wasn’t just limited to employees on site that day.  

“Luckily we share a building with the American Red Cross, who responded quickly and professionally,” relayed Sharon K. Brothers, MSW, Chief Executive Officer for the Institute for Professional Care Education. “They helped evaluate the problem, clearly communicated to our team and paved the way for EMS to do their work.  I know not everyone can be so lucky as to have a Red Cross office downstairs but I urge you to look into the training they provide so you can be there to help a co-worker, friend or family member in a time of crisis.”

Schaffer echoed the importance of Red Cross training. “My training as a nursing student is very extensive. It helped me know what to look for and how to respond immediately,” he stated.  “However, in a just few hours [with the Red Cross] anyone can learn the basics and be able to confidently come to someone’s aid knowing you can help them.”

The Red Cross offers training programs in first aid, CPR, AED and more. There is even a program for business owners that can be tailored to the needs of a specific organization. 

Classes are held locally and several are offered conveniently online. Visit http://www.redcross.org/ux/take-a-class to find out what classes are available in your area. 

Individuals can also download the Red Cross Emergency App, a mobile app that offers instant access to information on handling the most common first aid emergencies. Find the Emergency App on Google Play or the App Store. http://www.redcross.org/get-help/prepare-for-emergencies/mobile-apps