The St. Louis Red Cross Chapter Breathes Life into Safety Class

IMG_0452 IMG_0495

By Jacob Meinkoth, Communications Intern

On Tuesday, June 17, 2014 the Red Cross held a CPR certification class for professionals. The class covers CPR for adults, children, and infants. The students learn breathing techniques, how to perform chest compressions, and how to use AEDs.
“The class is very informative. Actually practicing these techniques really helped me retain all of the information. I feel I will be able to perform these life saving techniques should the need ever arise … , ” said Ciera, a 20 year old, planning (studying) to become a dental hygienist.
Red Cross instructor Karen has been teaching the class for 14 years; she is a true expert! Those attending the class were a diverse, eclectic group of 15 students, who wanted to delve deeper into their prospective profession. Most plan to join the medical field, as a nurse, physical therapist, dental assistant, and one student even aspires to become an EMT. The class is a fast-paced mix of lecture and hands-on practice using test mannequins. These mannequins make a clicking noise when chest compressions reach deep enough. At the end of the class, students take a comprehensive test covering all the information and techniques they learned throughout 6-hour class.
I’m happy to report, today, all passed and left the classroom better equipped to handle any challenge that they could face in their bright futures.


PHOTOS: Sears Safety Event!

One of our great volunteers from the Metro West office, Terri Violet, sent in these photos from last week’s Sears Safety Day at Mid Rivers Mall in St. Peters, MO.  The event showcased local emergency services providers including the St. Charles County Sheriff’s Department and Central County Fire & Rescue. The event allowed the public to get up-close and personal with the vehicles they use.  Terri, along with volunteers Jan Holmes and Cindy Sheehan, managed the Red Cross table at the event and provided attendees with information on preparedness, health & safety, and other services we offer. Thank you ladies for proudly representing the Red Cross!

PHOTOS: Pool Safety QuickTips!

As you may know, the American Red Cross teaches many courses involving life-saving skills, from First Aid/CPR/AED to aquatics classes such as swimming classes and lifeguard training. These classes offer participants the skills needed to help themselves or others. Unfortunately, it can take a tragedy for people to realize the importance of these life-saving skills. One drowning is too many, and this summer there have been several around the St. Louis area.  No body of water is risk-free; a person can drown in just a few inches of water.

Here is a critical reminder of ways you and your loved ones can stay safe around water.

When a lifeguard is on duty, make sure the lifeguard is in a “ready position”. He/she should have a rescue tube across the thighs, strap across the shoulder and neck and be holding the excess line to keep it from getting caught in the chair or other equipment. He/she should be sitting up straight, with sunglasses on, scanning the zone. You should see his/her head moving, looking at assigned patrons in the water, from the top, bottom of water and all around. He/she should also have a hip pack with resuscitation masks and first aid supplies.

Use a throwing assist to rescue someone beyond your reach. Throw a buoyant object to the victim.  Any floating object at hand, such as a plastic jug tied to a line, small cooler, buoyant cushion, kickboard, extra lifejacket or a water toy, is a great item to use.

Many of these items can usually be found in plain view at swimming pools and public waterfronts. Other items you could use include a pole, paddle or oar, tree branch, shirt, belt, towel or rope.

Never enter the water to help a victim unless you are trained to do so.  When performing reaching assists, keep your body low and lean back to avoid being pulled into the water.  Swimming into deep water to bring a victim to shore or to the side of the pool requires special training, a high degree of skill, fitness and rescue equipment.  Do not swim out to a victim unless you have the proper training, skills, fitness and equipment.  You can put yourself in danger and risk two lives rather than saving one.

More General Water Safety Tips:

  • Always swim with a buddy; never swim alone. Always supervise children and inexperienced swimmers.
  • Children or inexperienced swimmers should take extra precautions, such as wearing a US Coast Guard-approved life jacket when around the water.
  • Follow rules and regulations, as well as instructions from lifeguards.
  • Watch out for the “dangerous too’s” – too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.
  • Be knowledgeable of the water environment that you are in and its potential hazards, such as deep and shallow areas, currents, depth changes, obstructions and where the entry and exit points are located. The more informed you are, the more aware you will be of hazards and safe practices. Also be aware of weather conditions.
  • Do not mix alcohol with swimming, diving, or boating. Alcohol impairs judgment, balance and coordination, affects your swimming and diving skills and reduces your body’s ability to stay warm.
  • Know how to prevent, recognize and respond to emergencies.

Home Pools

  • Be sure everyone in the household knows how to swim. Enroll children in a Red Cross swim course. We offer Parent and Child Aquatics (6 months to 3 years); Preschool Aquatics (4 – 5 years) Learn-to-Swim (6 years – adult)
  • Never leave a child unattended who may gain access to any water. Even a small amount of water can be dangerous to young children.
  • Secure your pool or hot tub with a fence that is 4 feet high and has a self-closing gate
  • Consider placing a safety cover over the pool or installing alarms on doors or in the pool to detect unauthorized access. Underwater alarms work best.
  • Know what to do in an emergency. If a child is missing, check the water first. Know how and when to call 9-1-1 or the local emergency number.
  • Outfit your pool/hot tub with the right safety equipment, including a phone, first aid kit, whistle, life jackets in various sizes, reaching device, throwing device.
  • Consider enrolling in the new “Home Pool Essentials” online course. Jointly developed by the American Red Cross and the National Swimming Pool Foundation®, the course teaches pool owners basic information for maintaining and safely using home pools and hot tubs. Enroll and learn the fundamentals to help you maintain your home pool and create a safer pool environment.
  • Home Pool Essentials (

For full information on how to be prepared and to help stay safe this summer, visit or call 1-800-RED CROSS to be connected to your local Red Cross.