Red Cross Can Help You Be Prepared For Next Emergency

Recent events in Boston and Texas emphasize the importance of knowing what to do when an emergency occurs. Even as first responders rushed into help at both scenes, much of the initial care to the injured was provided by friends, neighbors and bystanders who were trained in CPR and first aid. Whether the emergency is community-wide and involves numerous injuries, or involves a single individual being hurt at home, it is vital that someone close by knows what to do when such an emergency occurs.

Getting yourself and your family more prepared for disasters can bring peace of mind during trying times and can help save someone’s life during future emergencies. Taking an action like downloading our first aid app, taking a first aid class or building a disaster supply kit can help people feel empowered to act when disaster strikes.


The American Red Cross has numerous ways people can get the information and training they need to be able to help when an emergency occurs.  The Red Cross urges everyone to be better prepared by taking advantage of training and mobile apps available to teach them what to do when someone needs assistance.

FIRST AID/CPR CLASSES The Red Cross has classes available that emphasize hands-on-learning of First Aid, Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and use of an Automated External Defibrillator (AED). The courses teach someone the skills they need to help save a life. Participants learn how to respond to common first aid emergencies, how to respond to cardiac and breathing emergencies in adults and how to use AEDs. There are also options available to learn how to help infants and children. People can register for these classes at or by calling 1-800-REDCROSS.

ONLINE TRAINING Family and household members can learn how to prevent and respond to emergencies by taking the new Red Cross Family First Aid and CPR online course. The cost is $30. Family First Aid and CPR teaches you how to:

  • Identify signals of medical emergencies.
  • Give appropriate care for common first aid emergencies.
  • Know when to call 9-1-1 and what to do until help arrives for critical cardiac and first aid emergencies.

This course is for people who do not require OSHA-compliant certification. It takes about 2 hours to go through the Adult CPR and First Aid content. Pediatric modules are also available.

DOWNLOAD FIRST AID APP People can also download the free Red Cross First Aid App for iPhone and Android mobile devices which puts simple lifesaving information at someone’s fingertips. Features include step-by-step instructions to guide someone through everyday first aid scenarios, full integration with 9-1-1 to call emergency services from the app and preloaded content to have instant access to information even without device reception or internet connectivity. The app is available in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store by searching for American Red Cross.




Angels in the Air

June 6th started off as any other day would when a man named Henry and his wife, along with several other strangers, boarded a plane traveling from Philadelphia to Atlanta.  No one on that plane could have envisioned the events that awaited them.

After being in the air for over 30 minutes, an American Red Cross employee, Kim Dunham -seated in the same row as Henry- began to notice that he was showing signs of discomfort and that he kept pacing up and down the aisle.  All of the sudden Henry collapsed. 

One of the flight attendants immediately made an announcement over the intercom asking if there were any emergency personnel on the flight.  Everyone was in shock.  No one moved.  The second announcement was made and his wife got up and ran to the back. That is when angles began doing their work and a string of lifesaving events occurred thanks to complete strangers.    

 The flight attendants pulled out the plane’s automated external defibrillator (AED) machine.  This is when Kim knew she needed to jump in and use her emergency response skills.  She immediately asked her Red Cross colleague, Karen Nazaire-Renaud for help. 

“I jumped over the lady next to me and ran down the aisle,” said Karen. “He was seated in the last row, face was blue and tongue was protruding. The AED was lying on the seat in front of him.  I told the flight attendants that we needed to get him on the floor as soon as possible and remove his shirt.  He was a big guy so a few people helped get him in the floor, including Kim.  In the meantime, I turned the AED on attached the pads to the machine and then attached them to the Henry’s chest.” 

Another passenger named Kathy volunteered to help move Henry into a safe position. After waiting for the AED to analyze, Kathy began performing rescue breaths while Karen and Kim rotated performing chest compressions. They ran into obstacles because of the limited space on the plane and had to reposition Henry several times before finding a spot that would allow for continuous rescue breath and compressions. 

After several minutes of doing CPR, the flight attendants told everyone that there was going to be an emergency landing and to brace themselves because it was going to be very rough.  The plane started to shake and water began spilling out of the toilet and sink near Kim and Kathy causing them to get wet.  While doing compressions Kim said that she heard something pop.  Although Kim’s wrist popped, and bones began to break in Henry’s chest, they all knew that they had to stay strong and continue to fight for his life.   

Once they landed in Raleigh, NC, the flight attendants said that they had to move him to get the back door open for EMS.  Kim jumped over the seat to make room.  They moved his body down the aisle and Karen jumped on his left side to continue CPR. 

Blood began to foam out of his mouth, and Kathy used paper towels to wipe it away.  Karen continued to do compressions until EMS was in place. Kathy had wiped down his face, one last time before he was taken away.  Once EMS placed him on the stretcher, they continued compressions until making it to the hospital.

Thankfully, Henry was able to make it to the hospital in time and survived.  If it were not for the brave individuals trained by the Red Cross, Henry might not be here today.  The heroism taken in the air prevented a family from saying goodbye and burying a loved one.   

Although no one could have predicted the events that happen that day – one thing is for sure, there were angels in the air and the power of the American Red Cross saved a life.

For more information about how you can get trained in lifesaving skills visit or call 1-800-REDCROSS.