by Sara Jayne Breuer, California Safe Corps, Preparedness and Response
One of my biggest motivations for joining the Red Cross was conquering my fear; I have always dreaded emergency situations.
However, every time I train in a new area, I feel more confident. Becoming trained in CPR and First Aid was empowering for me; it gave me the ability to save someone’s life. What is even more empowering is my role as a CPR/First Aid instructor because I can teach others how to save lives.
Despite my newfound confidence, I was nervous when I found out my very first students would be the Board of Advisors for the North Hollywood Police Department. I’m assigned to the North Territory of the Los Angeles Region and work out of the Palmdale and Canoga Park offices – and this class fell in my jurisdiction. Even more nerve-racking was this class came to the Red Cross through Ron Dresher, a member of the Los Angeles Region Board of Directors, who would also be attending the training.
As soon as I received my assignment, millions of questions flooded my brain. Would I have to teach the Professional Rescuer course? Had these people received CPR training before from someone much more experienced than myself? Would I get the kind of help I needed from my co-instructors? What if I forgot to mention something important? Would I teach my first CPR class to someone who once gave me a speeding ticket and would not appreciate my bubbly, exuberant teaching style?
Finally, the day came and I am sure I drove my partner and co-instructor, Josue, another Safe Corps member, a little crazy with my nerves and frustration. I had carefully stuffed the Red Cross van with manikins, manuals, surveys, presentation materials, and anything else I thought I had a chance of needing. We set up and the participants started coming in. At the same time, our experienced co-instructor let me know she was stuck in heavy traffic. Strangely, as we eased into the class and our smiling, eager participants made their way in, I became increasingly at ease. My students were of a broad range of ages, ethnicities, and walks of life. Excitedly, I started my first CPR class and all of my worries and fears were gone. I had the privilege of teaching people how to save lives, and that is exactly what I did.
My class was great. They were eager learners. Everyone came away saying they learned something new, and they were very grateful for me coming in to teach them.