June is National Safety Month. What does that mean? Researching the definition tells me that it is a condition of being protected from or unlikely to cause danger, risk or injury. From my 28 years with the American Red Cross, that meant CPR and first aid training. From my three years with the Catherine Cobb Safe House, that means safety from domestic and sexual violence. With the United Way that means a safety net of financial stability, access to education and health services (physical and mental health) for everyone.
During my tenure with the American Red Cross, I promoted CPR and first aid training a lot. Only 5% of adults have the skills and confidence to provide first aid in emergency situations. According to a recent American Heart Association survey, only about 65% of people in the U.S. workers have been trained in CPR, and only 18% are up to date in their training. Nearly 383,000 out-of-hospital sudden cardiac arrests occur annually, and 88% of cardiac arrests occur at home. A study published in a recent issue of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes showed that people who view a CPR instructional video are significantly more likely to attempt life-saving resuscitation. Hands-Only CPR (CPR with just chest compressions) has been proven to be as effective as CPR with breaths in treating adult cardiac arrest victims. The American Heart Association has recommended Hands-Only CPR for adults since 2008. At the Catherine Cobb Safe House, we found inexpensive online options that we could afford through the National CPR Foundation. However, there are many online and classroom safety training options available through the National Safety Council, American Heart Association and American Red Cross as well.
At the Catherine Cobb Safe House, safety was paramount in addressing domestic and sexual violence. The key to providing services to survivors of domestic and sexual trauma is to provide a safe, secure space (physical shelter and/or counseling setting) for healing. The antidote to trauma is safety! Providing comprehensive, victim-centered and trauma-informed services also includes safety planning for survivors to avoid or address potential violence in the future.
With the United Way, safety is addressed in several ways. Promoting financial stability through funding agencies that provide financial or budgeting assistance is one way. As community advocates, we are part of the collective impact process in both Monroe and Lenawee counties. We work with our partner agencies to address ways to help people with financial safety net planning. We also help to address food, housing and utilities insecurities, providing more tangible safety nets to meet these basic needs. We also work with community partners to address educational needs, ensuring early and equal access to education. And as part of the community health networks in both counties, we work on countywide health issues. We saw the health partnerships in action with our recently successful Health Check events in May, reaching 279 people with important blood panel testing. In fact, all Collective Impact groups are safety nets for the health and human services needs in both Monroe and Lenawee counties.
Another definition of “safety” is the state of being “safe,” the condition of being protected from harm or other non-desirable outcomes. Safety can also refer to the control of recognized hazards in order to achieve an acceptable level of risk. So how can we be more safety conscious in any or all of the areas I’ve mentioned? Learn CPR/first aid, be aware of safety needs of people traumatized by domestic violence or sexual assault. Be cognizant of the great need for a safety net for basic needs like food, shelter, utilities. Pay attention to your own health needs and those of the whole community. We need a safety net to ensure all have equal access to early childhood education through K-12 and beyond. Let’s all strive to be safe!
The United Way currently funds 27 local agency programs in Monroe County. See our website (www.unitedwayMLC.org) for a list of those agencies. We appreciate your support to help fight poverty, homelessness, food insecurity, mental health and substance use disorders, domestic violence, and other important community needs! Additional direct programs and services provided by our local United Way include the 211 Health and Human Services Hotline, Project Ramp, Health Check, and the 21-Week Racial Equity Challenge.
For more information about living united, please contact us. Call us at 734-242-1331, email email@example.com, contact or visit us at 216 N. Monroe St., Monroe, MI 48162. OR visit our website at www.unitedwaymlc.org. Visit our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and TikTok social media platforms, too!
Laura Schultz Pipis is the executive director of the United Way of Monroe/Lenawee Counties.