February 21, 2013

Denver RTD, Red Cross partner on disaster preparedness

Denver Regional Transportation District’s (RTD) Shirley Bennett, senior manager of safety & environmental, knows first-hand the importance of being prepared. Not once but three times, Shirley has come to the rescue by using her CPR training skills to revive a victim of a drug overdose, a victim of a heart attack and a choking victim. More RTD employees will soon have the skills and tools to come to the rescue.

Through a partnership with the American Red Cross, RTD is installing 30 Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) in 17 locations and has trained 20 employees in CPR and the use of the AEDs. The AEDs are easy-to-use devices that can deliver a heart-starting shock to someone suffering sudden cardiac arrest and can make the difference between life and death. The Red Cross provided the AEDs at no cost to RTD through a grant aimed at improving sudden cardiac arrest survival rates in the City and County of Denver.

The training and AEDs are part of a larger effort by the two organizations to improve preparedness in the community, ranging from everyday emergencies like heart attacks to wide-scale emergencies like natural disasters. RTD is also participating in the Red Cross Ready Rating program, which helps businesses and organizations assess and improve their level of preparedness.

“Disasters like Hurricane Sandy underscore just how vital local businesses and essential infrastructure are to a community’s ability to recover from disaster. Local transit and transportation organizations need to be able to quickly return to providing services following a disaster, because they enable employees and customers to return to normal economic activities,” said George Sullivan, director of preparedness programs for the Red Cross Mile High Region. “Although rebuilding damaged infrastructure takes time, we’re working with RTD to ensure that they’re even better prepared operationally to react nimbly to any range of challenges, from an individual medical emergency, to a power failure affecting one location, to a pandemic or wide-area disaster affecting their entire system.”

RTD is completing Red Cross Ready Rating assessments at 17 individual locations. The assessments will provide the foundation for RTD to work with Red Cross experts on designing plans and implementing specific steps to improve their preparedness score, with individualized action plans for each site based on that site’s unique population, geography, setting and potential threats. Sites may achieve outcomes such as creating a continuity of operations plan, running emergency drills, and testing back-up systems.

For more information about Ready Rating, visit www.redcross.org/colorado-RR.

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