If someone – a friend or a stranger – were seriously wounded, would you know what to do? Emergency training proved critical to the many victims of a shooting rampage Jan. 8 in Northwest Tucson. Six lives were lost that morning, but many others – including the life of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords – were saved thanks to the training people received at classes offered by the American Red Cross and other agencies.

As a result, more than 100 chapters of the American Red Cross offered free classes in basic life-saving techniques during the Gabrielle Giffords Honorary Save A Life Saturday on March 19. More than 1,700 people statewide learned the basics of hands-only CPR, how to stop bleeding and how to handle a victim in shock during the events, which were sponsored by Safeway and Walgreens.

“It’s very important to know how to help others who need help,” said Linda Shaird. Shaird and her husband, Isaiah, were among the 95 people who attended the 9 a.m. class Saturday at the Northwest YMCA. “I feel helpless without the appropriate skills. I want to be prepared to help others, and I hope people would be prepared to help us, too, if we needed it.”

Eileen Mahoney is already trained in CPR. She had another reason for attending the refresher course.

“I wanted to be part of this community event,” the Tucson woman said. “And I was inspired to see Suzie.”

“Suzie” is Suzie Heilman, the Northwest Tucson woman who was holding the hand of 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green during the Jan. 8 shooting. Little Christina was shot and killed that morning. Heilman also was shot but survived thanks to the quick responses by citizens with Red Cross training.

“I’m only here because people took Red Cross training and ran out into the gunfire to help,” she told one class of Save A Life participants. “I remember someone coming out of the Safeway and saying, ‘I can help.’”

The American Red Cross regularly offers life-saving training in many areas, including a new, two-day class in Wilderness and Remote First Aid. For more information about classes in Southern Arizona, visit www.redcrossarizona.org or call 318-6740.


Controlling external bleeding

After checking the scene and the injured or ill person:

1) Cover the wound with a sterile dressing.

2) Apply direct pressure until the bleeding stops.

3) Cover the dressing with a bandage. Check for circulation beyond the injury. Check the person’s skin for feeling, warmth and color.

4) Apply more pressure and call 9-1-1. If the bleeding does not stop, you can apply more dressings and bandages, continue to apply additional pressure, and take steps to minimize shock.

TIP: Use disposable gloves and other personal protective equipment and obtain consent when giving care.

TIP: Wash your hands with soap and water after giving care.

Source: American Red Cross

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