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By RITA MULLINS, Mayor of Palatine, and IRV BOCK, Mayor of Hanover Park As mayors and village presidents, we have the obligation to ensure the health, safety and well-being of our residents - including our young people. That is why we have become involved in an organization we feel helps fulfill that obligation. The Save A Life Foundation (SALF) came into existence through the efforts of Carol Spizzirri, founder, mother and nurse who, on Labor Day 1992, lost her child, Christina, to a fatal hitand-run car accident. Christina’s life might have been saved had the first persons who arrived on the scene given prompt first aid until the professionals arrived. Since that time, Carol has channeled her grief by establishing the Save A Life Foundation, devoting herself and requesting others to get involved in the process of educating people in these most basic skills. SALF is a not-forprofit organization dedicated to the promotion and education of life supporting first aid. Through Carol’s efforts, the Foundation was able to have a law passed in Illinois mandating first aid and CPR training for all new police and firefighters. With the assistance of Senator Richard Durbin (D-IL), a federal appropriation was sponsored and passed by President Clinton, providing funds for First Aid and CPR training for all police and emergency personnel nationwide. SALF has grown to include a team of dedicated volunteers who promote its life-saving mission. Also, the Foundation is very fortunate to have an internationally-recognized panel of experts serving on its Medical Advisory Board, such as Dr. Henry Heimlich, father of the Heimlich maneuver and head of the Heimlich Institute, Dr. Peter Safar, developer of Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and the head of the Safar Research Center in Pittsburgh, and Dr. Stanley Zydlo, father of Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and SALF’s Medical Director. Life is full of surprises. Some of them are pleasant and others are not. When we suddenly find ourselves face to face with a crisis, it is important to know what to do - either fix the problem, or keep it from getting worse. In our society, it seems all too often people turn away when they see someone in trouble, or someone suddenly becoming ill or injured. Many of us are simply afraid to help because of fear being sued, contracting a disease or making the situation worse because of a lack of knowledge. The intent of the Save A Life Foundation program is to deliver the most important lifesaving information in a simple, concise format designed to fit into our busy lives. The program will teach those taking the course just what they need to know. SALF has focused on the need of creating a critical mass of trained children in Life Supporting First Aid skills. Working with EMS/Fire Departments and schools, SALF has trained more than 125,000 children in the Chicago school district and became part of Governor George Ryan’s budget - appropriating funds to teach all school children throughout the state of Illinois in first aid and CPR. SALF has experienced tremendous growth in the last two years. From teaching a simple basic first aid program to children, SALF’s curriculum now consists of four comprehensive training programs geared to people of all ages. The program consists of Save A Life for Kids, Bystander Basics, Bystander Advanced (OSHA, Daycare Providers) and Bystander Basics Automatic External Defibrillation Our audience has grown from school children to businesses of all sizes. SALF has trained employees from companies such as Lead Core and U.S. Steel and has been brought in to teach the
Chicago Police Department. SALF will also be working with the Federal Aviation Administration in training employees and developing standards for the aviation industry. SALF’s training programs are as follows: Save A Life for Kids is a one-hour program that teaches elementary school children from kindergarten through eight grade. Children learn skills such as scene safety, contacting Emergency Medical Services, bleed control, opening an airway, early heart attack care, Heimlich maneuver and rescue breathing. Bystander Basic is a two-hour program geared for young adults age 13 and older, which teaches all the above as well as CPR. Bystander Basics Advanced is a three-hour program that meets OSHA standards, expands upon these skills by also teaching C-Spine control, shock management, critical burn management, initial wound care, and how to recognize various emergencies and prioritize multiple casualty situations. Bystander Basic A.E.D. is a one-hour program intended for adults 18 and over that includes training in sudden death, the function of the heart and circulatory system and how and when to use an automatic external defibrillator. The Save A Life Foundation has several current programs. These are: 1. Life Saving Skills for School Bus Drivers and School Administrators. Through a joint effort with the Illinois State Board of Education and the Secretary of State, SALF has proceeded with the plans for a program to train the 23,000 Illinois school bus drivers with basic hands-on life supporting first aid, including CPR. 2. Blue Angels Program. A partnership with the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority, Chicago Police Department, Office of the Superintendent of the Chicago Police, and the Police Academy to train police officers with EMS credentials to become in-house instructors for fellow officers in their police departments. These officers will also outreach their communities by providing training in life saving skills to local schools. 3. Creation of Branch Offices. With an eye on the future, SALF negotiated a partnership and established a regional training site at Saint John’s Hospital in Springfield. This was the first step in marketing our educational training into communities inadequately served by emergency medical services. Recently, at the National Conference of State Legislatures in Chicago, several states, most notably Connecticut, Texas and North Carolina, approached SALF about establishing branch offices in their states. What started as a tragedy for one woman has become a healthy, thriving and important organization making a difference and facing the challenge of making our society a better place for all. Most often, the people that you will be called upon to help are those we spend the most time with, our family, neighbors, and friends. This program will prepare your residents to recognize emergencies and teach them the right way to deal with emergencies. As mayors, we have an opportunity to assist in getting the word out to all our residents about the importance of these programs. The Save A Life Foundation will train the trainers for you. Men and women in your Police, Fire and Public Works departments start the core groups which consist of school children, social service clubs, church groups, etc. Let’s work together to support the philosophy of the Save A Life Foundation. For further information, please contact Carol Spizzirri of the Save A Life Foundation at 847-928-9683 or fax inquiries to 847928-9684. ■