Friday, October 8, 2010

Ready, Willing, and Prepared!

On September 25th, the American Red Cross Central Valley and our community partner, Memorial Hospital in Los Banos partnered up to hold an event for the community called, "Together We Prepare." Check out this article from the Los Banos Enterprise to read about an amazing day of training, disaster preparedness, and of course, free food!
Pacheco High School became ground zero for emergency preparedness Saturday as the Central Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross presented an all-day series of classes in the event of a disaster.
"We received a grant from Memorial Hospital here in Los Banos and what we're doing today is called 'Together we Prepare Los Banos,' " said Alex Villa, a health and safety coordinator for American Red Cross Central Valley. "What we're doing is we're preparing adults and children alike in disaster preparedness, first-aid and CPR," he said.
Some of the classes were geared toward children.
"This is our 'When I'm In Charge' class which prepares kids who are 7-12 years old for what to do when they're home alone," said Villa. "It gives them tips on what to do if there's a disaster or an emergency in the home. It even covers Internet predators and someone following you home from school."
Adults and children also took courses in first-aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.
One of the CPR courses was taught by Michael Lam, who has been with the Red Cross since 2005.
Lam's CPR course was anything but bland. During his high-energy presentation, Lam imparted critical life-saving information while moving seamlessly between telling jokes and relating anecdotes. Lam also told the class serious stories from his own life.
Lam got his message across.
The story of the death of his father brought a couple of his students to tears.
"I was once taught, what comes from the heart goes to the heart," said Lam. "Some of the things I deal with such as heart disease and prevention ... it is a serious situation and it brings a different emotion to the class. I don't want to be dramatic, but somebody dying in front of you is a dramatic situation.
"Since it is personal and it has hit home with me, it's just taking it from the heart and giving it to their heart and putting it in where they're gonna internalize it. The best examples are given from one's own life, from one's own personal interactions with life," he said.
One of the students in Lam's CPR course was CNA and Home Healthcare Aid Monica Leyba who said she took the CPR class to renew her certification, and because her mom is a heart patient.
"The class is phenomenal," said Leyba. "It's just awesome. It's a great experience and I think, you know, everyone should really take up CPR."
Another person taking Lam's CPR course was Richard Rocha, a notary public who brought his wife Yvonne and his 7-year-old daughter Christina to take the class with him.
"I've taken CPR many times for the different jobs I've had and I thought that it might be fun for [Christina] to learn and get some basic skills," said Rocha. "I figured it would be good to expose her to it and get a little practice at it so when she gets a little older she can have a foundation."
Red Cross volunteers came in from Fresno and Merced to help with the event, which was free to the 160 participants. Additionally, members of the Civil Air Patrol, personnel and equipment from Riggs Ambulance, Los Banos Police Department and Los Banos Fire Department showed up, too.
"What we're doing is we're out here to show Los Banos that we're here for their community," said Villa. "We're helping them prepare, and even though they're a distance away, we're still serving their community."