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Red Cross starts new program

Laura Sturza

While police and other safety professionals are well versed in facing

a crisis, the Red Cross wants people to feel personally prepared for

emergencies, and started a new training program this month.


“I’m always looking into taking all kinds of classes to look for

how I can be of service in the event of a disaster,” resident Rosalba

Fontanez said of the class she took Wednesday.

Mick Fenton, Red Cross spokesman and workshop instructor, showed


participants how to build an indoor shelter that will protect them in

the event of a chemical or other attack, or a natural disaster.

“We’re trying to teach people to tend for themselves ... to learn

first aid so they can get out and assist in their neighborhood,”

Fenton said. "[I recommend] taking a first aid or CPR class because

there are going to be times when trained professionals can’t reach


The classes started in tandem with the group’s national


celebration -- American Red Cross Month.

Other information covered in the two-hour course included

preparing a first-aid kit, having sufficient bottled water available,

planning an escape route, volunteering and being a blood donor.

“There is a [blood] shortage nationally,” Fenton said. “The Red

Cross is the largest provider of blood to the armed forces. Now that

there is a war, we encourage people to contact their local chapter

[to make a donation.]”


Jimmy Gin, an NBC employee, was among the dozen people who

attended the class the night U.S. military forces invaded Iraq. He

said he wants to be able to help others in an emergency.

“After the Northridge and Whittier earthquakes, I thought it would

be important to learn how to prepare yourself more so you wouldn’t

have to be so unsure and worried about the unknown,” Gin said.

People interested in taking the class, volunteering or donating

blood can call the Burbank Red Cross at 842-5295. A donation of $5 is

suggested for the class. The group offers a CPR class for $5 that

covers adult, child and infant CPR, from 9 a.m. to noon March 29.