The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

July 8, 2013

Classes focus on life-saving skills

Sean Sauro

— As the mercury rises and area residents begin looking for ways to beat the summer heat, swimming and other water activities may often seem appealing.

However, with increased water activity participation, there also comes an increased risk of drowning and water-related accidents.

To combat this risk, American Red Cross spokeswoman Christine Mina said the Red Cross will offer a series of safety and preparedness classes.

“That way we can keep everyone as safe as possible,” she said.

The classes, teaching lifeguarding, first aid and CPR, as well as use of automated external defibrillators, will be offered on multiple dates throughout July, Mina said.

“They start tomorrow, and they are available through (July 26),” she said.

Not all safety and preparedness courses are taught on each date, but Mina said the price of each class – ranging from $70 to $500 – will reflect what is being taught.

Because each course differs in content, the duration of each class is not constant, but Mina said they are relatively short.

“Depending on the course, it’s usually one day for a few hours.”

While the courses only last a few hours, Red Cross Executive Director Colleen Sherman said the life-saving skills being taught can be a benefit to the community.

“These preparedness classes can be the difference between life and death,” she said.

“It never hurts to be prepared.”

Similarly, Mina said she too sees the importance of the courses.

“You can never be too prepared and you never know when an emergency situation is going to arise,” Mina said.

“A lot can go wrong when you’re just having a good time.”

Local classes will be held at the Red Cross office along Jari Drive, according to a news release.

Those interested in participating can register for the courses by phone or by visiting the Red Cross’s website,

Also, interested parties who cannot make it to one of the scheduled classes can register for private instruction, according to the news release.

Businesses, organizations and community groups are able to register for private instruction as well, according to the release.

Though the summer preparedness courses focus on lifeguarding, Mina said similar safety and preparedness courses are offered year round.

“Every month, we come out with a new schedule,” she said, “and, depending on the month, we try to emphasize different training.”