2008-05-23 / Columnists

Cross Currents

St. Rose Of Lima School Begins Collaboration With Red Cross
CommentaryBy Joan Foley Director, American Red Cross Of Greater New York - Queens

JOAN A.FOLEY JOAN A.FOLEY We've been adopted!!!

We are so lucky to have the students, faculty and staff at St. Rose of Lima School, 154 Beach 84th Street in Rockaway Beach, work closely with us to help local residents prepare for emergencies and to extend a hand when people around the world need our support.

While the school soon will close its doors for summer, we already have started a relationship that will pick up in earnest during September and grow in the years ahead.

St. Rose of Lima has collected $183 toward its goal of $500 that will be used to help others in the community. The students also are making a video about the Red Cross.

We have visited the school to talk about the good work that we do in Queens, throughout the city and around the world. We also have provided the school with Red Cross first aid kits and FACT (First Aid for Children Today) books.

FACT helps children understand the importance of managing their health and safety, and the health of the environment in which they live. Using stories featuring animal characters, FACT deals with topics such as first aid, calling 9-1-1, road safety, home alone, healthy living habits and the environment.

The school/Red Cross collaboration was the idea of the fourth grade students, who were inspired by the recent visit of Pope Benedict XVI. The children are amazing. They have so much energy and many great ideas. I was even surprised when they told me that they knew that American Red Cross founder Clara Barton was born on Christmas Day.

We hope this relationship will inspire other private and public schools in Queens to work closely with us. Upcoming Classes

June 1-7 marks the first National CPR and AED (automated external defibrillator) Awareness Week. The goal is to encourage states, cities and towns, and communities such as the Rockaways to establish organized programs to provide training and increase public access to AEDs. More than 300,000 people each year suffer from sudden cardiac arrest. To increase the chances of survival, at least one person in each household should be trained in CPR and the use of an AED. Organizations and companies, depending on size, should have many, if not all, employees and volunteers trained. In less time than you think, American Red Cross training will provide the vital knowledge and skills for everyone to respond to a life-threatening situation with confidence.

June CPR/AED classes offered by the American Red Cross in Greater New York will be held at our Queens area office (138-02 Queens Boulevard in Briarwood). Dates and times of classes, which include sessions in Spanish, are subject to change. Class costs reflect online registration. For phone reservations, add $10 per class. For more information and to register, call 1- 800-514-5103, or visit www. nyredcross.org .

CPR/AED (automated external defibrillator) - Adult, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., Sunday, June 1. Cost $65 online registration.

CPR/AED - Adult with CPR for Child/Infant, 9 a.m. - 4 p.m., Monday, June 2, and Sunday, June 29. Cost $90 online registration.

CPR/AED - Child and CPR - Infant, 9 a.m. - 3 p.m., Sunday, June 15, and Monday, June 30. Cost $75 online registration.

Swimming Safety Tips

Everyone soon will be enjoying our beaches and pools. Before putting that toe in the water for the first time this summer, here are a few safety tips for you to review and discuss with your family.

Never swim alone- always swim with a buddy.

Always choose a supervised area in which to swim, whether at a pool, the beach, the ocean, a lake, or river. A trained lifeguard is the best safety factor. Even good swimmers can have an unexpected medical emergency in the water.

Never drink alcohol and swim. Alcohol impairs your judgment, balance and coordination, and it reduces your body's ability to stay warm.

Never chew gum or eat while you swim - you could easily choke.

Know your swimming limits and stay within them. Don't try to keep up with a stronger swimmer or encourage others to keep up with you. Keep an eye on children and weaker swimmers - if they appear tired, encourage them to rest out of the water.

Use common sense about swimming after eating. It may not be necessary to wait an entire hour after eating to swim safely. But after a large meal, let digestion get started before doing any strenuous activity such as swimming.

Watch out for the dangerous "too's" - too tired, too cold, too far from safety, too much sun, too much strenuous activity.

Stay out of the water when overheated - you could easily tire. Let your body cool itself down first. Drink lots of liquids before jumping into the water.

Watch the weather. Stop swimming as soon as you see lightning or hear thunder. Wait at least 20 minutes after the last sound of thunder and flash of lightning before re-entering the water.

Pack a "safety" bag for a day at the beach or pool. Include water-proof sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher), water shoes to keep feet safe from the heat and from objects on land and in the water, and plenty of water to drink. All containers should be plastic to prevent injuries from breaking glass. The properly packed safety bag will help ensure that everyone comes home safe and sound.

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