Training and Education
Try taking an American Red Cross First Aid class as well as a CPR/AED (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation/ Automated External Defibrillator) class as a family. You will be surprised what children can learn and do; plus, the Red Cross has many classes geared for different ages and situations including families, health professionals, babysitters, scouts, pet first aid, wilderness and delayed help scenarios, water-related emergencies and much, much more. The American Heart Association also offers classes at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Breese in CPR and ACLS (Advanced Cardiac Life Support).
If you are looking for more education and training, there are online classes available through the FEMA Independent Study Program at: http://training.fema.gov/IS; Illinois Train at: http://i.train.org; or the North Carolina Institute for Public Health at: https://nciph.sph.unc.edu/tws/trainings.php. Most classes are free and many provide college credit and/or continuing education units for pursuing degrees in such diverse fields as: nursing, medicine, pharmacy, veterinary medicine, public health, emergency management and/or disaster preparedness. Some of these resources in Illinois include: Kaskaskia College, Benedictine University, College of Lake County, Frontier Community College, University of Chicago, University of Illinois, and Western Illinois University.
There are national volunteer programs that operate locally such as the Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) or state programs such as the Illinois Citizen Corps program (i.e. Community Emergency Response Teams [CERT]) and local programs such as Community Organizations Active in Disaster (COAD.) These organizations all strive to “harness the power of every individual through education, training, and volunteer service to make communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to respond to the threats of terrorism, crime, public health issues, and disasters of all kinds.” Citizen Corps asks you to “embrace the personal responsibility to be prepared; to get training in first aid and emergency skills; and to volunteer to support local emergency responders, disaster relief, and community safety.” Everyone can do something to help make our families and our communities safer! (IEMA Citizen Corps Council, 2010)