February 20: Scholars had the opportunity to learn hands-on emergency preparedness skills at a visit to the New York Chapter of the American Red Cross. The American Red Cross (ARC), provides disaster relief and emergency education within the U.S. and the New York Chapter is its largest and most active.
The day began with a warm welcome from Mr. Edmund Torraca, the Brooklyn disaster Program Manager. He introduced Scholars to the wide range of disaster relifef services that the organization provides, from responding to small home fires to large natural disasters such as Hurrican Sandy. The ARC works closely with local police and fire departments to provide shelter, food, and health services imediately after disasters happen.
Following the introduction, Scholars participated in a hands-on emergency preparedness workshop. Award-winning actress and Health and Safety Services Instructor, Lipica Shah, spoke on the importance of putting together an emergency communication plan and safety kit. In the second part of the workshop Scholars learned and practiced basic cardiopumonary rescuscitation (CPR) skills.They also learned how to respond to everyday emergencies such as choking, burns and seizures.
Many Scholars had been familiar with the Red Cross’ work in their own countries, but were surprised to find out about the organization’s work on a local level with first aid training and blood drives. They were also impressed to learn that the ARC is 90% volunteer run. They greatly appreciated being able to learn basic emergency skills that they could use both in the United States and in their home communities.