CAMP FOSTER, OKINAWA, Japan -- Rows of baby dolls are lined up one by one along the desks of a classroom. There are human-like mannequins lying on the floor in a school-circle fashion. Gloves, face masks and gauze are placed by the desk chair of each awaiting student. It is time to learn how to save a life.
Marines and Master Labor Contractors with Marine Corps Installations Pacific-Marine Corps Base Camp Butler, Japan, gathered in the Education Center April 22 on Camp Foster, Okinawa, to be certified by the American Red Cross in adult, child and infant CPR, use of an automated external defibrillator and basic first aid.
The class was facilitated by Allen Balabis, regional director of emergency management and Carl Hinson, emergency management analyst for MCIPAC.
Balabis and Hinson, certified instructors with the American Red Cross, eagerly introduced themselves to the class, explaining and demonstrating the techniques taught for the certification.
The American Red Cross is recognized nationally and internationally for their services during disasters and emergencies, according to Balabis. Having a certification from the Red Cross identifies that the person has trustworthy experience and hands-on training.
“The certification indicates that there is a standard,” said Balabis. “Being certified by the American Red Cross ensures that we are all being taught the same method the same way.”
CPR is a method used to maintain blood flow and brain function in an emergency situation such as a heart attack or drowning where the patient’s heart beat or breathing has stopped.
Coinciding with performing CPR, use of the AED, a portable electronic device, was taught as a way to revive a patient’s heart beat by helping to establish an effective rhythm through the use of electrical therapy.
Three words were repeated throughout the day to ensure proper etiquette before performing the medical aid necessary during the emergency.
“Check, call, care,” repeated Hinson, “Check on the person to see if they’re okay, call for professional help, and care for the patient until medical relief arrives.”
The class was implemented as part of the Department of Defense’s Preparathon, taking place throughout Emergency Preparedness Month, practiced during the months of April and September.
“The Preparathon focuses on that community outreach to make the community more resilient during emergencies, potentially saving lives,” said Balabis, a Cherry Hill, New Jersey native.
Obtaining the training to make people in the workplace better prepared to handle emergency situations promotes safety for the whole unit, according to Capt. Thomas S. Flinders, operations officer with G-4, training, operations and plans, MCIPAC.
“Instead of just being a bystander during an incident, I can be one of the people helping,” said Flinders, a Burbank, California native. “It’s beneficial to me knowing that I can help my family or anyone if there is ever an emergency where I can apply this training.”