Sharon Sullivan

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December 27, 2012
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Red Cross offering First Aid/CPR training

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. - A Conifer man's life was saved last year by his son and daughter thanks to their knowledge of cardiopulmonary resuscitation. His daughter had learned CPR during baby-sitting classes.

The man suffered sudden cardiac arrest while changing the oil in his car. The mother called 911; the son pulled his dad out from underneath the car and began chest compression; and his sister performed artificial resuscitation.

"They saved their father's life. He would have been dead" by the time emergency medical technicians arrived, Red Cross spokeswoman Patricia Billinger said.

CPR is an emergency procedure performed in an effort to maintain brain function until further measures can be taken to restore the spontaneous blood circulation and breathing in a person in cardiac arrest.

The Red Cross in Grand Junction is offering several CPR trainings in January and February, as well as instruction in how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED). There will also be courses in adult and pediatric First Aid.

When someone is having a heart attack, "knowing CPR can keep the blood flowing to the brain, while emergency responders get there," Billinger said.

CPR can also save someone from choking to death - choking is one of the most common reasons for using CPR.

Red Cross training courses meet OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) guidelines, and are often necessary for some professions, Billinger said. People who successfully complete the course receive a two-year certification, free digital materials and skill refreshers.

Fees range from $70 to $110.

Would you like to put your communication skills to good use?

The American Red Cross is seeking volunteers in Grand Junction who have public affairs, social media or storytelling skills to help out during disasters.

Home fires are the most common Colorado disaster, Billinger said. The Red Cross responds, on average, to one home fire a day, she said. Home fires occur more often during the winter months.

Volunteers are needed to disseminate information to the public, and to the media. And, there's opportunity to train to become a public affairs volunteer on the national level, as well, Billinger said.

In Grand Junction, the Red Cross is also looking for someone to help manage local social media sites, and to contribute monthly to its blog.

"We've found more and more people are using social media in disasters," Billinger said. Yet, "In western Colorado there's not much of a social media presence."

The Red Cross is also looking for a good storyteller.

"The Red Cross is very active throughout Colorado," and we want to share those stories with the public, Billinger said.

"We want to tell our story statewide."

Written stories may end up on, as informational pieces for annual reports or in the narrative portions of grant applications.

Prospective volunteers must have excellent writing and communication skills, solid computer and social media skills and be willing to commit service for at least one year.

For more information contact Billinger at 303-607-4766, or email a resume to More information can also be found at or

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The Post Independent Updated Dec 27, 2012 02:21PM Published Dec 27, 2012 02:20PM Copyright 2012 The Post Independent. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.