AmeriCorps, saving lives with the American Red Cross

Learn life-saving skills with the American Red Cross

In honor of National AmeriCorps Week, we are sharing stories from our local AmeriCorps members helping our community.

Sudden first aid? Just another day at work for Geoff Brown and Anne Hemphill, two American Red Cross AmeriCorps members. The two are serving a one-year AmeriCorps assignment with the Red Cross and both are trained to teach CPR and First Aid to the public. In December, they were instructing a CPR class in Madison County, when they noticed one of the students lying with her head down on the desk. “It was theater seating, so we couldn’t see her very well,” says Brown. But once they realized that the student was sick, the two knew exactly what to do.

Immediately after they spotted her, the student began vomiting and mentioned that she was weak and had blurry vision. “We had just reached the part of the class where we talk about sudden illness,” Brown says, a bit of irony in an otherwise dangerous situation. “I climbed over the seats and sat next to her, took her pulse, and used a cool cloth on her forehead.” Brown was serving as the co-instructor alongside Hemphill who immediately stopped the class.

“The class got to see the three C’s [Check, Call, Care- the first steps to American Red Cross first aid and CPR] in action. They graciously helped me correctly carry her down a few steps and into the hallway, in case we needed to lay her down,” says Brown. Hemphill called 9-1-1 when it became clear that the girl’s symptoms were not improving. When emergency personnel arrived, Brown was able to explain symptoms that were pertinent to her condition. Because he had been asking the right questions, his information was invaluable to the emergency responders. Hemphill continued the class after the incident, and the group received their CPR certification along with the unexpected live skills demonstration.

Hemphill commented on the significance of the situation taking place during training, “the class got to see the correct steps in action. What to ask from a conscious victim and when to call 9-1-1 when you’ve done everything you can do. I think it really emphasized the idea that life-threatening situations can happen anywhere at any time.” Like a true Red Crosser, Brown went the extra mile to make sure that he did everything he could for the young lady, “three days later I went back and finished up the rest of the class with her one-on-one so she could get her certificate.”

You can get your certificate too. Sign up for a class today!

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