A small group of committed and trained Red Cross volunteers were under a tent in Farm Bureau Park teaching hands-only CPR to attendees of the Iowa State Fair. The heat and humidity didn't phase this group. They were dedicated to teaching thousands what to do in the event of an emergency. Thanks to their enthusiasm and commitment, more than 3,400 fairgoers learned hands-only CPR.
“I am here to teach hands-only CPR so that everyone in the public can have a sense of duty to actually help somebody on the ground who’s unconscious," said Jon Paul Sieben. Sieben is 30 years old, and has been a Red Cross volunteer for seven years. He believes that people are more likely to act when they see someone on the ground needing help after receiving this training. "This teaches them the simplest facts to get them on the ground, doing compressions. Anything you can do to save a life," said Sieben.
Hands-only CPR is just that. It's hands only. There is no mouth-to-mouth component. The training teaches the rate and placement of compressions that can provide help until an ambulance arrives.
“I have been a long-time fairgoer, and I absolutely love the Iowa State Fair. When the Red Cross gave us the opportunity to do this hands-only CPR thing, I actually got certified to teach this just to come to the state fair because I love the environment of the fair," said Red Cross Volunteer, Audi Smith. I love that we can give this option to other people and this life-saving ability.”
Smith became a Red Cross volunteer just over one year ago. Her husband is a firefighter in the Grinnell area. She heard about the critical need for Disaster Action Team volunteers to respond to local fires, and she signed up. Now she responds to local disaster calls and provides trainings to both adults and children.
Both Smith and Sieben emphasized the need for more Iowans to volunteer their time with the Red Cross. There is a place for everyone within the majority volunteer-run Red Cross.
“I would say join Red Cross if you need a good sense of purpose or to help", said Sieben when asked what he would say to prospective volunteers. "To have that gratification to know that you helped one person, is enough to get you through an entire year."
To find the perfect volunteer position for you, visit redcross.org/volunteer,