Rod Clugston and Lorna Nemeth have a dream. In their dream one of us is innocently driving along when we come across a bicycle on the edge of the pavement and the rider sprawled in the ditch. The accident isn’t their dream; our ability to respond to it, is.
It’s sort of like life insurance; if you don’t have it, you know you should, and you know you need to make time to do it, and maybe you will…
One person at a time across Simcoe County, Rod and Lorna and Assured Response CPR and First Aid Training are turning by-standers into active participants.
Rod recalls the moment this dream took shape. He had taken First Aid and CPR years ago as part of his employment with Loblaws. He and Lorna were driving up Highway 27 from work and just about Highway 89 he saw a car identical to his cross the centre line into the path of a transport truck. Rod stopped, parked and rushed to the car, hoping his training would kick in. The driver had two legs crushed under her dashboard. Her face split when it hit her dashboard. Her teeth were loose in her mouth. For 45 minutes, in sub zero weather, he held her and kept her conscious, monitoring her condition until an ambulance arrived. She was air lifted to Sunnybrook Hospital. Rod went back to his car and burst into tears, the reality of the last hour of stress catching up to his physical self. He was frozen, he was scared for her, and he’d held it all together until help arrived.
The accident victim had benefitted from Rod’s first aid training. He was determined that this could continue to make a difference, and the dream was born.
Now Rod and Lorna offer courses to employees, to self employed people in groups, to people working in retail, to people working in the entertainment industry. They teach parents. Right now they’re launching a three Sunday (13 hours in all) training session for parents with swimming pools.
Recently, Rod and Lorna and Assured Response CPR & First Aid Training completed training of all staff at Rock 95. Rod says time flies during these sessions, and I have to tell you… I sat in on a morning recently and couldn’t figure out how I could learn and laugh at the same time.
“People like being in our class,” says Rod. “They are relaxed and comfortable and learn easily. We give people options of what to do in an emergency. It’s all basic,” says Rod.
“If someone has a deep cut, stop the bleeding.
If they’ve stopped breathing, breathe for them.”
He points out that if you are in the position of having customers, if a customer has a problem, it’s now your problem. Knowing how to solve it can make a difference between life and death.
In fact, the only people who don’t benefit from an Assured Response course are ski patrollers, life guards, paramedics, firefighters and police. They have their own internal programs. Everyone else is on their own to become accredited.
In some cases, Assured Response goes into a business to train five or six people and ends up training the entire team. By law, in any business with work shifts, there must be a certified First Aid and CPR trained staff person on all the time. Rod and Lorna love to work with entire teams of people; they see the difference when people feel empowered.
Rod sees it as a great bargaining tool on a resume, too. With your first aid certificate, you bring a valuable resource to any company you apply to.
At less than $100 a person, it’s not an expense… it’s an investment. It makes sense that they are targetting pool owners. You spend $30,000 filling your back yard with a swimming pool, a few hundred dollars on hydro to heat it, money on accessories and toys… the pittance spent to save someone in the pool is almost negligible.
True Star Fitness for Women is having all of their staff trained by Assured… over three Sunday afternoons, fitness instructors will be completely prepared to help in any emergency that might occur at work, and away from work.
But, back to the dream. For Rod and Lorna, their ‘day’ jobs have been forfeited in favour of their business development. Lorna handles promotions, marketing and business matters and Rod is the guy on stage, the comedian with the practical message.
And what about the lady with the crushed legs and broken teeth? What happened?
“I never knew,” says Rod. “I never found out. But I know she had a better chance than if I hadn’t been there.”