Create a Master Plan (CAMP)

Children learn Citizen CPR during Create a Master Plan CAMP.

Part of the Red Cross mission is to provide assistance to military members and their families. That’s why we jumped at the opportunity to hold a camp for children of veterans or parents deployed with the military this past weekend in Gastonia.

The point of the camp – called Create a Master Plan – was to provide children with valuable safety information but have fun at the same time.

Kids learned from hands-on activities such as Citizens CPR and Pet First Aid. Red Cross volunteers also taught emergency preparedness, flu prevention and water safety.

Joining the Red Cross on Saturday were the Gaston County Police K9, Gaston County amateur radio and Belmont Fire Department. Also there were representatives from a new program Horses for Forces, which is horse therapy for children of deployed men and women.

Children practice first aid and pet first aid during Create a Master Plan CAMP.

“I knew something wasn’t right”

10-month-old Drew Cohen

Corey Cohen didn’t think twice about putting her son, Drew, in his stroller with a handful of Cheerios. They were at the doctor’s office, and the 10-month-old was perfectly content to enjoy a snack while his mom chatted with the pediatrictian.

Suddenly, Drew began gagging. Corey lifted him from his stroller and noticed Drew was trying to cough but couldn’t.

“My ‘mommy mode’ kicked in, and I knew something wasn’t right,” she said.

Corey, who sits on the board of the American Red Cross in Union County, had been trained years ago in CPR and First Aid, but didn’t feel confident enough to tend to her choking son. She frantically handed Drew to the doctor, who placed the baby on her forearm and delivered several blows between his shoulder blades.

“We were both talking to him saying, ‘Breathe! Breathe!’” Corey recalled. “I can remember leaning down by him as the doctor was hitting his back and seeing the strained expression on his frozen face.”

Corey watched in horror as Drew’s entire body had begun changing color. After 30 seconds and no improvement, the doctor threw open the door and called for help.

“As the doctor stepped out into the hallway, I watched Drew’s limp, purple body flop over her forearm,” Corey said.

She remembers worrying about having to tell her 4-year-old daughter that Drew had passed. She remembers panicking at that thought because her children adore each other. She remembers wondering, “How could all this happen because of a Cheerio?”

Fortunately, after what Corey said seemed like hours, she heard the sweetest sound: Drew began to cry. He regained his color and reached for his mother’s embrace.

“I grabbed him up and hugged him, feeling like I was going to faint from relief,” Corey said.

While she was “a complete wreck” for the rest of the day, Corey decided she wanted to tell everyone about what happened to Drew so they would have the chance to prepare themselves for an emergency.

“I thought if it could save it just one child, it would obviously be worth it,” she said.

Corey organized an American Red Cross CPR class for people who hadn’t been trained or, like her, who needed a refresher.

“Choking is one of those things you are always aware of, especially with young children, but it’s also one of those things you think will never happen to you or your child,” she said. “To think someone could actually die from eating seems overwhelmingly unbelievable, but I now know that is completely the opposite. It’s very possible and very real.”

Get trained

Military families enjoy Back to School Bash in Gaston

The American Red Cross recently hosted a “back to school bash” for miliary families of the Gaston County National Guard Unit. Families received school supplies as well as

On Saturday, Aug. 11, 15 volunteers – in conjuction with the Family Readiness Group – provided meals and activties.

Children enjoyed activities such as: bracelet making and face painting while parents learned how the Red Cross can provide them with assistance.

Learn more about Red Cross Service to the Armed Forces

Hurricane safety at your fingertips!

The American Red Cross today launched its official Hurricane App, putting lifesaving information right in the hands of people who live in or who visit hurricane prone areas.

This free app is the second in a series to be created by the American Red Cross, the nation’s leader in emergency preparedness, for use on both iPhone and Android platforms. It gives instant access to local and real time information on what to do before, during and after hurricanes. Building on the Red Cross’ leadership in the social media space, the app also includes a number of features that allow people to monitor personalized weather alerts in locations where family and friends reside and share information with others in their social networks who might also need it.

Features of the app include:

  • One touch “I’m safe” messaging that allows users to broadcast reassurance to family and friends via social media outlets that they are out of harm’s way;
  • Location-based NOAA weather alerts for the United States and its territories users can share on social networks;
  • Remote monitoring of personalized weather alerts where family and friends reside
  • Locations of open Red Cross shelters;
  • Simple steps and checklists people can use to create a family emergency plan;
  • Preloaded content that gives users instant access to critical action steps, even without mobile connectivity;
  • Toolkit with flashlight, strobe light and audible alarm; and
  • Badges users can earn through interactive quizzes and share on social networks.

The app enables people across the country to receive alerts for locations in areas where they like to vacation or where loved ones live, giving peace of mind to travelers, people who winter in warmer climates, and those with elderly relatives or college students in coastal areas.

Get it:
Apple App Store
Google Play Store

Gastonia company employees use skills to help co-worker

Amanda Clemmer and Edmond Williams post with local Red Cross executive director Chuck Bridger (center).

In September last year, an employee at WIX in Gastonia approached co-worker Edmond Williams and said he did not feel well and his heart was racing. 

Mr. Williams, who had been trained in Red Cross CPR/First Aid/AED, escorted the co-worker to the first aid station, took his pulse and blood pressure and sought assistance from Amanda Clemmer, who is a Red Cross CPR/First Aid/AED instructor.

Amanda re-checked the employee’s vital signs and called 911 when he experienced additional symptoms of a heart attack. 

For their actions, Edmond and Amanda were each awarded the Certificate of Merit, the American Red Cross’ highest honor for an individual, which bears the signature of the Presidents of the United States and the Chairman of the American Red Cross.

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Burke County BB&T helps prepare local students

Some of the 150 readiness kits the team at BB&T assembled.

Each year, BB&T has a lighthouse project in which the Morganton team works to enhance the quality of life for residents of our community. 

This year, a group of five staffers worked 10 hours shopping for items and preparing 150 readiness boxes for the local American Red Cross. These kits will be given to students in the area hit by the January tornado.  

“Tragedy happens so fast that we want to emphasize the importance of being prepared,” said Wanda Rose, VP , Agency Manager with BB&T. “We wanted to work with American Red Cross because of the great work they do in Burke County and we’re proud to team up with them and help in any way we can.”

Does your business have a COOP?

The Red Cross promotes personal preparedness – get a kit, make a plan, be informed.

We also promote business preparedness.

On Wednesday, our Gaston County Chapter enacted part of their continuity of operations plan (COOP) when a delivery truck ripped the electricity and telephone wires from the chapter building.

As an agency that responds to disasters around the clock, the chapter couldn’t afford to be unavilable to those who need us.

Employees acted quickly, putting pieces of the COOP in action:

  • they contacted the phone service provider to have calls forwarded to the after-hours answering service. 
  • critical work files had been downloaded onto jump drives, and laptop computers to allowed them to work off-site.
  • the national e-mail system is cloud-based, allowing staff to remain in contact with partners and clients by laptop, home PC and/or cell phones. 
  • the chapter had previously installed rechargeable hallway exit lights that were activated when power was lost.

If your company lost power, would your staff know what to do?