First Aid Station Volunteers Care for Community at Festivals, Races
By Melanie Finke, Communications Manager, American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter
May 15, 2009
Next time you’re at a community festival or race, take a look around and you’re likely to see the volunteers of the American Red Cross Bay Area Chapter on-site providing free first aid services. From handing out bandages to runners with painful blisters to providing a haven from the heat to those affected by the sun or dehydration, Red Cross volunteers help care for the community through the first aid stations program. Each year, the chapter staffs stations at more than 20 events throughout the Bay Area, such as the ING Bay to Breakers race taking place in San Francisco on Sunday, May 17.
The Red Cross first aid stations are staffed by certified professionals, with back-end support provided by chapter administration, logistics and communications volunteers. Marin County volunteer Kevin Hall has been working with the Red Cross for 11 years, and he currently recruits and schedules volunteers, as well as managing supplies for first aid stations as part of the program. “The reason I do it is because I want to be one of the people there to help,” says Hall.
The help Red Cross volunteers provide is sometimes even the difference between life and death. In the case of Hall, he found himself in a position where his team’s fast thinking saved a man who suffered from an aneurism at the Sausalito Wine Festival five years ago. The volunteers called 911 and treated the patient until paramedics could transport him the hospital. Without that immediate assistance from the Red Cross, the man likely wouldn’t have survived.