Earlier today American Red Cross CPR/AED expert Connie Harvey went on the Today Show with Kathie Lee and Hoda to demonstrate these life-saving skills. After the segment, we sat down with Connie to discuss her background, the importance of CPR, the experience of being on the Today Show ... and meeting one of the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
Greater NY Red Cross (GNY): When did you first connect with the Red Cross and learn about CPR?
Connie Harvey (CH): My dad was a Red Cross CPR instructor so that’s how I got started. I have been certified in CPR since I was about 10 years old. Then, while in college, I became a water safety instructor and a lifeguard.
Today, I manage aquatics programs for the Red Cross, which includes lifeguarding. CPR and AED are major components of that. Anyone who is an aquatics instructor or lifeguarding instructor has to maintain CPR knowledge and skills. I also serve as spokesperson for these programs.
GNY: Why is it so important for someone to know CPR/AED?
CH: The most important thing to think about is the alternative to doing nothing. You know what the result is going to be. If you do nothing the person pretty much has no chance; but by stepping up and taking action you have the power to save someone’s life.
And it’s simple steps that can make a difference. The simplest way to start is by calling 9-1-1 and getting help on the way and not to be afraid to perform the skills that we went over on the show.
GNY: Did you come in with any expectations about your demo with Hoda and Kathie Lee?
CH: I knew it was going to be a fun segment with them and I knew they would ask a lot of questions. It’s such a personal topic and many people do have a story to tell—either something they did or something somebody they know did. These kinds of stories typically come out in segments like these. And indeed it did. Kathie Lee told us about a time when her son saved someone who was choking. And it’s an empowering thing and it makes them very proud of the person who took the action.
GNY: Any other takeaways from the segment?
CH: I was very excited to meet Lisa Vanderpump [from the "Real Housewives of Beverly Hills"]! She was on with Hoda and Kathie Lee right before me. She was absolutely pleasant and a lot of fun!