By Stephanie Heckman, Red Cross Public Relations Intern
Evan Derr first learned about the local Red Cross programs while interning at the Schottenstein Center during his time at Ohio State University. Part of his internship involved coordinating with the First Aid Services Team (FAST), a Red Cross department that works with the Schottenstein and other large venues in the Columbus area.
FAST trains volunteers who attend local events, festivals, concerts, races, marathons, sporting games and company picnics. The purpose of FAST is to provide CPR, AED and first aid treatment in case of injuries, heart attacks, strokes and other heatlh concerns during large events.
After learning more about the program, Evan decided to become a FAST volunteer. Since childhood, Evan’s been interested in medicine, although he studied theatre tech and art management at OSU. He viewed volunteering with FAST as “something fun to do” and a way to learn more about medical care. He says becoming part of the FAST team was like going “full-circle” for him.
Evan says that on his third week of managing FAST, they went to an OSU-Akron game during 100 degree weather. He says that it was so hot that they went into “disaster-mode” and treated over 300 people for heat stroke and dehydration. He says that this event was like “throwing me into the fire” after having little experience. When asked what he has learned working with FAST, Evan laughed and said, “A million ways how not to take care of a patient.”
After graduating from OSU, Evan became the full-time manager of FAST. Evan is also now a certified Emergency Medical Technician (EMT). He became an EMT to begin implementing better procedures into the FAST program. A certified trainer, Evan teaches a CPR/ AED and First Aid class every other month. This summer he will also be teaching a course in Emergency Medical Response (EMR). He enjoys teaching these safety courses because he wants “to share first aid knowledge and all the info on how to take care of someone.” He advises, “Get training [in CPR and First Aid] and have a First Aid kit. If you do all these things, you will be fine in an emergency.”
He says his favorite part of his job is getting to know the “fun, dynamic group” of volunteers he manages. “[The Red Cross] is so volunteer-driven. It amazes me how much the volunteers do for the program. This isn’t their only obligation but it’s like a full-time job for many of them. They do everything,” Evan says. “They have fun, do their own thing and take care of patients.”
He volunteers with the Disaster Action Team (DAT), on top of his full-time job managing the FAST program. When asked why he volunteers for DAT, he jokes, “I figure, why not? It’s not like I have much of a life anyway.” In actuality, Evan believes that disaster relief is the most important program the Red Cross offers to the community. “It’s where we see the biggest impact. Within hours, days, we can be at the biggest disaster site,” he says. “We have so many fires in the Columbus area. People are willing to get up in the middle of the night to help.”
Evan believes in the importance and impact of volunteering. “It’s a really rewarding opportunity. Give back. Hang out with really cool volunteers, who have different experiences and backgrounds from you,” he says. “Jump in and have fun. Make the experience want you want out of it. It has to be fun for you.”