REM volunteers are life-savers

IT Manager Fred Brown practices compressions while tax supervisor Joe DeMartinis observes.

HR coordinator Suzanne Schultz takes a turn.

During the week of May 17, staff members in REM’s Broadway, Long Island, and New Jersey offices received life-saving training. Those who volunteered for the three-hour course were trained to perform adult, child, and infant CPR; to properly use an automatic external defibrillator (AED); and to dislodge obstructions in choking victims and perform resuscitation (if necessary) in adults, children, and infants. Volunteers are part of the firm’s First Responder Team and are expected to respond should an emergency situation arise.

Proofreader Alex Barnett clears the area before administering a "shock" with the AED simulator device. Tax senior Dylan Brady stands clear.

“I’m personally very proud that so many of our staff members volunteer to join the First Responder Team,” says Barbara Weisbein, Director of Human Resources. “The program is partner-approved and staff-run. In addition to the life-saving techniques, the team is trained to take command, including crowd-control and post-EMT arrival. We plan and update our response protocols every year, and each member contributes to the discussion. A trained mind delivers a trained response.”

REM has offered the course to its employees since 2009. The firm absorbs the cost of the training and individual certifications (good for two years), as well as providing multiple AED devices and first aid kits in all REM locations.

Managing Partner Ellis Ende calls the training program a win-win. “I have to say, I have the greatest respect for our First Responders. Their level of compassion is amazing. And you can tell they’re doing it out of a sense of social responsibility, because so many of the same staff members stay on the team from cycle to cycle. We have wonderful people here.”

IT Manager Fred Brown is one of the firm’s original First Responders. He originally took the REM course in 2009. “It wasn’t the first CPR course I’d ever taken, but it was definitely more comprehensive than anything I’d learned before. One thing I like is that the material is always updated and expanded. We learn more every time.”

To date, the First Responder Team has never had to put its skills to use. Fred acknowledges that this is a good thing. “Obviously, it’s important information, and we should always be ready to act on it, but I’ve got to say, I’m glad it’s never happened here.”