It’s a skill they never hope they have to use, but 22 Massapequa High School students are well prepared if they come across a friend in alcohol distress. They are now part of the Red Watch Band, a group of high school and college students who have been given the knowledge, awareness and skills to prevent toxic drinking deaths.
The newest Red Watch Band members were recognized at a ceremony on Feb. 7 in the Ames Campus library, where they received completion certificates, red wristbands and wallet cards with emergency steps. Students from grades 9-12 were welcome to sign up for the program, which has been in Massapequa for more than a decade.
Advisers Kim Hession and Joanne Waters, the social workers at the Ames and main campuses, respectively, commended the students for taking this necessary step to help their peers. They explained that Red Watch Band members know how to identify a potential alcohol overdose and how to intervene to get someone help.
Students completed four hours of training, beginning with an hour-and-a-half alcohol information course with Ms. Waters and Ms. Hession. A two-and-a-half hour lifesaving skills course, including CPR and AED training, was led by physical education and health teacher Michael LaBella.
Ninth grader Elena Walsh said she had taken a CPR class in the past, and decided to take part in the Red Watch Band program to expand her lifesaving skill set. Renee Colletti said this training increased her knowledge about the risks of alcohol consumption and also has her prepared to help someone in need.
Senior Kayla Elfenbein began the training when she was in ninth grade, but it was interrupted by pandemic. She was pleased to have an opportunity to finish the course an officially join the Red Watch Band.
“It’s a good life skill to have in case something happens,” she said.
Red Watch Band started at Stony Brook University about 15 years ago to combat the more than 1,800 yearly preventable deaths among college-age students from alcohol-related causes. The Massapequa School District offers the training to students in partnership with the Massapequa Takes Action Coalition.
–Submitted by the Massapequa School District