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Empowering bystanders: New free online course teaches lifesaving care

The "Until Help Arrives" course covers five fundamental actions to take in a life-threatening emergency, including compression-only CPR and bleeding control.

In this Dickinson Press file photo from 2021, students at Dickinson High School perform CPR on a mannequin.
Dickinson Press file photo

DICKINSON — Medical emergencies can happen at any time, and often do occur when least expected. The actions taken in the critical moments make a huge difference in a positive outcome that saves life.

The American Red Cross and the American College of Emergency Physicians have teamed up to launch an all new online course called, "Until Help Arrives," which aims to empower bystanders to take action and provide lifesaving care should they be the first on the scene of an emergency.

Each year in the United States, 436,000 people succumb to cardiac arrest, claiming more lives each year than colorectal cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, influenza, pneumonia, auto accidents, HIV, firearms and house fires combined, according to the American College of Emergency Physicians.

If performed immediately, CPR can double or triple the chances of survival, however, a recent survey found that almost half of all U.S. adults are unprepared to render aid during a medical crisis. Four out of five adults surveyed claim that they would be willing to help in an emergency situation had they undertaken a training course.

Enter the novel 90-minute online course, free for all and available from the comfort of one’s home.


The "Until Help Arrives" course covers five fundamental actions that can be taken during a life-threatening emergency, which can help sustain or save a life until emergency services arrive. These five foundational skills, taken together, address the most pressing emergency needs someone is likely to be called upon for help and include compression-only CPR, AED education, choking education, administering naloxone for opioid overdoses, and bleeding control using direct pressure and tourniquets.

Dominick Tolli, senior vice president of training services for the Red Cross, said that in emergency situations, every second counts, and it is essential to take immediate action to provide aid to those in need.

"This course is designed to offer bystanders basic information that gives them confidence to take immediate action when minutes matter,” she said. “These five foundational skills, taken together, address the most pressing emergency needs someone is likely to be called upon for help."

With the right knowledge and training, Tolli believes that anyone can go from bystander to "first responder" during a medical emergency.

This non-certification course is available online for individuals and training providers, and it is recommended for those who need basic knowledge on emergency response, but certification is required for workplace or regulatory requirements.

For more information about the course, or to sign-up, visit www.redcross.org and search for “Until Help Arrives.”

James B. Miller, Jr. is the Editor of The Dickinson Press in Dickinson, North Dakota. He strives to bring community-driven, professional and hyper-local focused news coverage of southwest North Dakota.
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