Red Cross trains 90 people for Hands Only CPR, eyes 900 more


Gov. Ralph DLG. Torres joins American Red Cross-NMI Chapter executive director John Hirsh and other Red Cross officials and volunteers in a group photo in front of the Governor’s Office building on Capital Hill yesterday morning. Torres signed a proclamation declaring March as American Red Cross Month. (CONTIBUTED PHOTO)

American Red Cross-NMI Chapter Disaster manager Juan Diego Tenorio said yesterday that they’ve already trained about 90 people for their Hands Only CPR life-saving initiative and will train 900 more to reach their ambitious goal of 1,000 in the next few months.

“This program that we’re doing is going to be free,” said Tenorio during the American Red Cross proclamation signing at the Office of the Governor’s conference room on Capital Hill.

Tenorio said the more people they can train in the community to help save lives and provide them with a basic skill or providing hands-only CPR, the better chances patients would be in surviving accidents.

He said that would help the Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services and many of the CNMI’s first responders.

“That’s a very ambitious goal, but it’s not impossible,” Tenorio said.

He said the American Red Cross-NMI Chapter is only as good as the support they receive from the CNMI government and private partners. Tenorio said their partners and volunteers have been really the key to their success.

“We look forward to many, many more years of this partnership and collaboration because, at the end of the day, we’re all going in the same direction and that’s to help the community,” he said.

Tenorio noted that they have many great volunteers on the island who have gone above and beyond their call to serve the community. He said some of their volunteers were at Ground Zero as front-liners after 9/11.

He said they have one volunteer who was actually deployed to the California wildfires and was there for a month, providing logistical support to the operation.

These were learned yesterday soon after Gov. Ralph DLG Torres declared March as American Red Cross Month. Torres said Red Cross has done an extraordinary job in reaching out to the community and that some of the projects the Red Cross worked with DFEMS was the installation of free smoke alarm on Saipan, Tinian, and Rota.

“Those actions really save lives,” Torres said.

The governor said the Red Cross was one of the first recipients of the American Rescue Plan Act funding and was the largest recipients at the time.

“Thank to all of you for your partnership. Thank you for making a big impact on our community. As one community, we are stronger together,” Torres said.

Red Cross NMI executive director John Hirsh, wo has been with Red Cross for almost 20 years now, said that it’s their incredible volunteers and partners that enable the Red Cross to be successful.

“Without our volunteers, and without the generosity of everyone in the community, we wouldn’t be strong, and we wouldn’t be able to respond to these catastrophic events on our shores and throughout the nation,” Hirsh said.

He said they’ve deployed volunteers to California for the wildfires and throughout the nation.

He said that, with their global and regional partners, they’ve been able to help the families in Tonga impacted by the underwater volcano eruption.

Hirsh said the Red Cross has also sent 30 volunteers (not from the CNMI) into Eastern Europe to work on different military installations to provide support for service members.

He said they are also working with the Ukrainian Red Cross and other partners in neighboring countries such as the Hungarian Red cross to ensure that they are providing humanitarian aid to many Ukrainian refugees.

“I’ve always feel just privileged to be part of not only of our local team here, but part of this global movement, that we can leverage resources, financial and human resources to really, really make a difference in the world,” Hirsh said.

American Red Cross-NMI board chair Mable Glenn said their focus going into their third year with the COVID-19 pandemic is fundraising and getting back their feet to be able to provide all these programs and services.

Glenn said this month they are focusing on educating the community on their different programs and services.

“We’re going to be spotlighting our volunteers and encouraging people that are maybe afraid to volunteer, maybe they don’t have the time, or they don’t know how,” she said.

The Red Cross has about 170 volunteers on Saipan alone.

Ferdie De La Torre | Reporter
Ferdie Ponce de la Torre is a senior reporter of Saipan Tribune. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and has covered all news beats in the CNMI. He is a recipient of the CNMI Supreme Court Justice Award. Contact him at

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