Life-saving training available from Red Cross

By Kendall Smith

This past January, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, was shot in a tragedy in Tucson, Ariz., that claimed several lives and threatened many others.

Thanks to first aid training, however, Giffords’ life was saved. Now, UK students will have the opportunity to receive free first aid training at the Gabrielle Giffords Honorary Save-a-Life Saturday.

The event, hosted by the Bluegrass Chapter of the American Red Cross, aims to teach attendees basic first aid techniques.

“After Congresswoman Giffords was shot, she and several other victims were assisted by trained citizens,” Winn Stephens, director of development for the Bluegrass Chapter of the American Red Cross, said. “The congresswoman’s aid was credited with saving her life. We felt that this would be a great opportunity to honor the congresswoman and offer everyone a chance to receive this training.”

Those who attend will have a chance learn the specific techniques that made the crucial difference between life and death for Giffords.

“The skills we are teaching are exactly those that saved the life of Congresswoman Gifford,” Stephens said. “The man credited with keeping her alive learned these skills from the American Red Cross, and we want to pass them on to as many of our friends and neighbors here in the Bluegrass as possible.”

Stephens believes that the training being offered could be of practical use to anyone who attends.

“Our data shows that 27 percent of all Americans have been in a situation where someone needed CPR,” Stephens said. “Combine that with the bleeding control training we’ re teaching and the treatment of shock training we’ re offering, and I think we can be fairly certain many of those taking the training will utilize these skills at some point.”

The training being offered should be known by everyone, Stephens said, in case a situation arises in which someone might require first aid attention.

“We know one in four people will need to know CPR at some point in their life,” Stephens said. “When you consider how many of us are also likely to come in contact with someone who needs a wound treated or someone suffering from shock, I think this training is critical for all citizens.”

Anyone interested in attending will have multiple opportunities to do so on Saturday and will receive adequate consideration when learning these skills, which include hands-only CPR, controlling external bleeding and managing shock.

“Students will definitely receive individualized attention,” Stephens said. “We want to make sure everyone knows these skills.”

The sessions will be at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. in classrooms accommodating 20 and 30 students.

Gabrielle Giffords Honorary Save-a-Life Saturday will take place March 19 at the Bluegrass Chapter of the American Red Cross. It is free to attend and sessions will last around one hour.