Red Cross Month: Being Prepared Saves Lives

Athens, GA- CPR can save a life. Would you know how to do it without any warning? March is American Red Cross month, and their team is working to educate the public on why CPR certification is so important, along with many other disaster prevention techniques.

Karen Hemphill works as a secretary at Wiggins, Norris, and Coffey law firm in Bogart, and she has her co-workers to thank for saving her life after she unexpectedly collapsed.

Hemphill says, “It was a normal day…went to lunch, went to a late lunch, picked up supper for my husband, came back and was working, and that’s all I remember.”

Attorney Shannon Coffey shared that she remembers saying, “‘We have to do something, we can’t do nothing.’ So I just got on my knees, and I didn’t know how many compressions I was supposed to be doing, there was a lot of flaws in the ways we were administering CPR to Karen, but at least we were doing it versus not doing it.”

Everyone in the office played key roles in saving Karen’s life. And all of Shannon’s knowledge came from one single CPR class. Paralegal Brian Cathey says he learned an important lesson when it comes to terrifying instances like this one:

“That feeling of ignorance and helplessness, and if there’s a take away for me from all of this, I guess it’s that that’s preventable.”

That feeling is exactly what the Red Cross is working to avoid. Director of American Red Cross’s East Georgia Chapter says, “This is a month where we can raise awareness of all the capacities of the American Red Cross, and we also use it as a time to help people to become prepared- to get that CPR/first aid training…”

Karen says that since the incident, she’s taking a proactive approach in living a safe and healthier lifestyle.

“I’m learning to make life better than it was.”

To find out more about becoming CPR certified, you can visit


By: Mary Grace Fisher and Wright Gazaway

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