By Claire Harlin
As a mother of two, Carmel Valley resident Beth Sullivan said she gets frustrated at the fact that she signs liability waivers when she puts her kids into the hands of others, even though they are often not trained in CPR. Even when it comes to sending her kids off on play dates, she has a vested interest in knowing those parents know emergency procedures.
Being a longtime expert in calibrating and servicing hazardous material detectors, Sullivan knows about safety and she has been taking her business Response Ready Technical Services a step further by providing CPR, first aid and AED (automated external defibrillator) training to local schools and organizations that need to reinforce safety education.
“At first I was thinking I would learn it and teach it to my friends,” said Sullivan, who has a degree in environmental health policy in 2006 and has been running her calibration business for 12 years.
Starting off training organizations voluntarily, word of mouth let to Sullivan drumming up requests for training from churches and businesses, and she even started offering advanced classes for people in the medical field, in which she brings in her friend and former husband, Don, a longtime paramedic, as a co-instructor. The pair have long volunteered at local schools, doing educational presentations for kids on environmental health and safety in which she teaches about things such as stormwater processes, and Don brings his ambulance for the kids to see and experience up close.
While she also teaches CPR as a volunteer at the schools, she works as a subcontractor in other settings.
“The feeling I get back from people is that they are excited about my class and enjoy it,” she said. “It’s not boring and it’s something that empowers people.”
Most of her referrals come from people who have taken the class, many of whom appreciate that she offers a free “refresher course” within a year of enrollment, just in case everything isn’t understood or retained the first time.
“I really want people to understand and know the information, so I give that for free,” she said, adding that she supplies her students with a keychain containing all the necessary tools to perform CPR.
More than just learning CPR, Sullivan said the classes inspire an awareness that encourages people to take precautions such as carrying a first-aid kit with them and knowing signs and symptoms of cardiac arrest before it happens.
“Sometimes it’s very hard to notice signs and symptoms of critical conditions, and denial is what can end up killing people, “ she said, meaning that a sufferer of cardiac arrest may claim he or she is just fine. “I’d rather get in trouble for something I did than regret something I didn’t do.”
In addition to necessary techniques, Sullivan covers legal issues relating to helping a stranger in need, such as when it is appropriate and when it’s not. Someone who decides to help may also open themselves up to legal issues, as it is against the law for a Good Samaritan to abandon someone they are helping.
She also discusses response times and the dispatch process and how citizens can register their cell phone at www.readysandiego.org to get a better response time if they call from that phone. The efforts is aimed to adapt the land line-based system to a society that is increasingly cell phone-centric.
“People’s eyes are like saucers when I’m done,” she said. “There are so many things they didn’t know before.”
For more information or to contact Sullivan, visit
, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (619) 889-3952.