Learning how to save a life

Learning how to save a life

One of the best things you can do to prepare yourself for an emergency is to get CPR certified. As a Red Cross intern, I could see different classes being set up and knew that this was definitely an opportunity I should take advantage of.  My high school had required me to get certified as a freshman, but that was almost eight years ago, and my current medical understanding was largely based on fictional medical TV shows like Grey’s Anatomy. I realized that was far from sufficient and began to worry that I would find myself in a life or death situation with no idea what to actually do. So, after looking through the available classes, I signed up for the Adult and Pediatric First Aid/CPR/AED class at the Red Cross’ 2200 W Harrison location.

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The class was scheduled for a cold Tuesday morning in March. When I got there, I found a classroom with around a dozen people from a variety of professions and backgrounds, paper packets, and a DePaul grad student named Kelly as my instructor. Over the next five and a half hours the class covered how to respond to a wide variety of different medical emergencies. With so much information in one day I was a little worried about getting overwhelmed and retaining everything. However, that was not the case at all. The combination of instructional videos, interactive exercises and practice on CPR dummies made everything easily digestible and memorable.

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I cannot recommend taking the CPR/AED training enough. In just a few hours, you’ll learn how to react to emergencies ranging from a sprained ankle to cardiac arrest. I left the class with a newfound confidence and sense of preparedness. Signing up takes five minutes or less. Just go to www.redcross.org/courses to find the class and location that best suits you. You never know when you’ll be the person others look to in an emergency. You could be the one to step up and save a life.

Written by Hannah Nicholson, Communications & Marketing intern for the American Red Cross of Chicago & Northern Illinois

Check, Call, Care

“Check, Call, Care,” says the teacher as she begins class with the first lesson in CPR. “Check, Call, Care,” notes the nurses, athletic trainers and lifeguards that make up the 11 students in the class. “Check, Call, Care,” is or will become an everyday phrase for most of the people in this class.

The class is made up of professional rescuers and healthcare providers and many are looking to re-new their CPR certifications. Getting re-certified for some is just a mandatory precaution but for others, like Sylvia Ceebin, it brings back memories that make her thankful for her skills.


“I have been a nurse for close to 35 yrs and people say ‘Oh you’re use to it’ and I don’t think you’re ever use to it,” said Sylvia.

While sitting in the professional rescuers training course at the American Red Cross, Greater Chicago Region, Sylvia remembers her past and how she has used her CPR training before. As a nurse she told us she has performed CPR many times in the hospital but when asked to share her story, she recalls two sad instances when she had to use CPR outside of the hospital.

Sylvia remembers her first story from 10-15 years ago, being summoned from the clinic she was working at, to help a woman in the building around the corner. The woman, diagnosed with African Trypanosomiasis, also known as sleeping sickness, was thought to have fallen asleep at her desk but officemates could not wake her up. As Sylvia and her colleagues arrived, they began to work on the woman but something was wrong.

“It was weird giving her CPR. Luckily we had a doctor with us but I think the worst part was she was long gone before we started the care,” reflected Sylvia sadly.


As her second story unfolds, Sylvia starts with some chilling advice, “It’s good to know your surroundings.”

About three years ago Sylvia was working at a company for healthcare in a building downtown doing flu shots for employees. All of a sudden a security guard came down from a board room upstairs and said that someone was having a diabetic reaction and had slumped over during a meeting. Luckily Sylvia was there that day to help because no one else knew what to do.

“I started CPR and someone grabbed the defibrillator. Sadly he didn’t make it, but I guess it reinforced knowing these skills and since I was new to the building it was lucky that other people knew where the AEDs were,” said Sylvia.

Today Sylvia works for the Water Reclamation for Cook County and helps out by informing people about CPR as a safety coordinator. She said she has talked to many different people and is surprised by how many people use these skills daily.

The American Red Cross offers many different classes that can help prepare you for any situation. Be prepared like Sylvia and sign up for a class today!

 Written by Dana Morones