Red Watch Band Program Teaches Alcohol Poisoning Awareness

Sophia Bollag and Sophia Bollag

Eleven students completed the Red Watch Band alcohol awareness training where they learned how to perform CPR and how to help a peer who is suffering from alcohol poisoning. The pilot program at Miramonte was administered by sports medicine teacher and athletic trainer John Grigsby and Healthy Choices co-chairs Lynne Alper and Jaime Zaffanella on Thursday, March 18 and Saturday, March 20.

“The Mission of the Red Watch Band is to provide Miramonte students with the knowledge, awareness, and skills to prevent toxic drinking deaths,” said Zaffanella. “The more young people who are trained in this, the safer the environment will be.”

The program was started to educate the teenagers who attend parties where alcohol is present so that there will be a reduced risk of someone dying of alcohol poisoning or another alcohol related problem at one of these parties.

A large part of the training focused on teaching minors when it is imperative to call for help and how they can resist peer pressure when those around them do not want to contact help for fear of getting in trouble. Trainees were also taught to recognize signs of an alcohol overdose, including slowed breathing and unresponsiveness. In addition, trainees learned how to use an automatic external defibrillator (an AED) on a person who is potentially experiencing cardiac arrest or having a heart attack.

“We [the trainees] all think they’re good skills to have,” said junior Kirsten Rutledge, who participated in the training. “If the situation was to come up [where we needed to perform CPR or help someone experiencing alcohol poisoning] we may not be 100% competent, but we would know what to do.”

Students who completed the training will receive red watches and are encouraged to wear them so that other students will know that they are CPR and Red Watch Band certified.

Grigsby said he hoped there would be more opportunities for other students to participate in the program.

“I thought it was very successful,” he said of the pilot group. “I am working on setting up another training.”