Accidents Happen. Amanda Is There.

Life has been challenging for Amanda DeRosa.

She has a long QT syndrome, a congenital abnormality of the heart’s electrical system that can lead to sudden death.  Her 2nd-grade son has inherited the condition. Both take beta blockers.

But those — and other hardships — have not deterred Amanda. Since moving to Westport 5 years ago, she’s jumped into community life. She always looks to help. Last year, for example, she rallied Starbucks regulars to fund a gift card for a pregnant barista who needed help.

Amanda DeRosa (right) and her Starbucks friend.

She’s been active too in ensuring that AEDs (portable devices that deliver electrical shocks to cardiac arrest victims) are in as many places as possible — and that their batteries are replaced when needed.

It’s not only the elderly and people with long QT syndrome who may need help, she notes. Youngsters hit the wrong way by a ball can go into cardiac arrest too.

Amanda’s 64-year-old father is a volunteer firefighter in Chatham, New Jersey. “This stuff is in my blood,” she says. “I run to the fire, metaphorically.”

To be prepared, last July she took a Red Cross adult and pediatric first aid/CPR/AED course. She gave up 6 1/2 hours on a beautiful summer day, and it cost $117, but the certification was important to her.

Almost immediately, she put her training to use. An older woman fell on the sidewalk, near (of all places) the Post Road Starbucks where Amanda had aided the barista.

The woman bled profusely. Amanda put on her N95 mask, announced who she was, and got the bleeding under control. She kept the woman calm, until EMTs and firefighters arrived.

Not long after — at nearly the same location — Amanda saw a pickup truck hit a young man on a moped.

Again she raced into action. He was shook up, but not injured. She stayed with him, and made sure he was okay.

On Tuesday, Amanda again ran toward the metaphorical fire. Driving on the Post Road, she saw a serious 2-car accident at Turkey Hill. First responders had not yet arrived. A couple of people had stopped, but did not know what to do.

Amanda parked in the closest lot, grabbed her mask, and assessed the scene. A woman was out of her car, using her cellphone. A young man was still in the vehicle, dazed.

She introduced herself, and said she could help if needed. He nodded yes.

He said his wrist and chest hurt, and he felt dizzy. “I think I’m in shock,” he said.

Amanda calmed him down. She breathed slowly, and got him to follow. “He was terrified,” she says. She stayed with him until EMTs, firefighters and police arrived.

Those 3 incidents reinforced Amanda’s decision to take the Red Cross course.

“I know not everyone can handle blood,” she says. “But if you can, you really should do it.

“It takes time for first responders to arrive. If that young man needed CPR because of the airbag impact, I could have done that.”

A few days before that Turkey Hill accident, Amanda’s father had called. The firefighter said that a 52-year-old father of 4 had just died in Chatham, after his car was struck broadside.

“That was my hometown,” she says. “But Westport is now home. I just want to help, and I know there are millions of people like me.

“I’m just a mom. If that was my son in that car, I hope someone would be there for him.”

Amanda DeRosa has done plenty already. But she’s not stopping with the first aid/CPR/AED course.

This summer, she’ll start courses for a nursing degree at Norwalk Community College.

(To find a Red Cross first aid/CPR/AED course — or any other type — click here.)

7 responses to “Accidents Happen. Amanda Is There.

  1. Joyce Barnhart

    Wow! What a woman. Thank you, Amanda for your spirit and dedication.

  2. I graduated from the NCC nursing program in 1980. An intense program, but a rewarding career. Good luck!

  3. What Ms. DeRosa is doing is commendable in light of her training and certifications. A question: What legal protection does she/should she have in case some (fill-in-the-blank) person decides (for whatever reason) to sue her?

  4. Robert M Gerrity

    WOW! As a former ARC FA/CPR instructor, I am SO impressed with her dedication to service by upgrading her appropriate knowledge and physical skills in order to be on the spot to help others. In my training days I never heard back from anyone who had to use their training at all, and here she is 3 for 3!

    ARC is now so centralized that I do not know of a place to go for training locally (likely via Trimet to Portland OR). And the price!! $118!! Ran them for cost in local Greater Boston towns, though corporate training I organized from ARC HQ there was like $25 per person THEN. But that was 2 hours for just CPE; FA was 4 hours — so, yeah about the same time commitment over 2 nights. STILL….

    NOTE: Review ALL ARC training programs. Their Home Nursing programs have several levels and keep beeing revised.

  5. NANCY D AUSTIN

    I feel safer knowing Amanda is in town! THANK YOU AMANDA!

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