MY SECOND LIFE – Meat market owner saves customer’s life with CPR

Fred Bivins says he wouldn’t be alive today if Gary Szotko of Lewandoski’s Market didn’t know exactly what to do.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Friday, Nov. 12 started off like a normal day for Fred Bivins. The proprietor of Vinecroft Studios was trying to make room in the studio freezer for a Thanksgiving turkey. He pulled out some macaroni and cheese and thought it would go well with some smoked kielbasa from Lewandoski’s Market.

Owner Gary Szotko wasn’t scheduled to be at Lewandoski’s that day. But he was filling in for one of his employees when Fred came in. The two began to chat for about 15 minutes. On his way out, Fred returned to the counter and Gary knew something was wrong. “Fred’s eyes just rolled right into the back of his head. So I knew what was happening,” Gary said. Fred hit the floor. While first responders were on their way, Gary began CPR. It’s a skill he learned during his 28 years serving on the Grand Rapids Fire Department.

We know that medically, any chances of survival are much greater the sooner you start CPR,” Gary said. “I called back to my son, Alex, who was working that night. I told him to call 911, which he did.” In minutes, first responders from Rockford Ambulance and Grand Rapid Fire Department Station #3 on Bridge Street, where Gary spent much of his career, were at Lewandoski’s to take over. “I ended up getting shocked five times somewhere between here and the hospital,” Fred said.

Fred spent the next three and a half weeks at Spectrum Health’s Meijer Heart Center. He doesn’t remember much of that stay, and he almost didn’t make it. He said Dr. Glenn VanOtteren and Spectrum’s critical care team helped nurse him back to health.

“One doctor said you were dead before he hit the floor, and the only thing that got you back was Gary. He knew how to do CPR, and that’s what saved my life” Fred said. On Dec. 8, at the urging of Dr. Sampson Ho, Fred was transferred to Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital just down the street, where he was treated for damage done to his body when he hit the floor, and during CPR compressions. “You don’t save a life without cracking bones, and I’ll trade the broken ribs for my life. I’ll never be upset that Gary did that to me,” Fred said. “Mary Free Bed is full of miracle workers. They honestly are, and I’m just grateful to all of those people.”

Fred says his doctors agree, he wouldn’t be alive to tell his story if Gary had not began CPR right away. So when Fred got out of Mary Free Bed right before Christmas, his first stop was at Lewandoski’s Market to thank the man who saved his life.

Fred Bivins meets with Gary Szotka just before Christmas after Szotka saved Bivins life in November. “I have a second chance at life because of this man, and there was no way I was going to go home from the hospital without stopping to thank him. And I’ll thank him every day of my life of my second life,” Fred said. The two cried together during the reunion, which was a surprise to Gary. “It was surreal, because I didn’t know Fred was coming. I looked up and Fred’s here. Yeah, just a big hug, and big cry. But I’m just very thankful, very blessed, and very grateful.”

Now, Fred is trying to pay it forward. He’s raising money to help buy an AED, automated external defibrillator, for the store. People who want to help can send money via PayPal to

Meanwhile, Gary is going to make sure everyone who works at Lewandoski’s is CPR certified. Both Gary and Fred hope people who see this story would be moved to learn CPR for themselves.

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Woman credits recent CPR certification for saving father’s life

A Moline man is recovering after his daughter used CPR to save his life back in August. UnityPoint Health – Trinity says Joe and Erin Hammond often exercised together. One day, while resting after finishing an early-morning run with Erin, Joe suffered a heart attack and collapsed to the ground.

His heart stopped, and he wasn’t breathing. Erin rushed to his side and began performing CPR, which she had just learned a couple months before then through an internet class as part of her personal trainer certification.

A 911 dispatcher on the phone helped Erin stay calm as she used her training to perform chest compressions on her dad until help could arrive.



“I saw my dad out of the corner of my eye collapse and fall to the ground. I don’t know — I instantly knew this was a worst-case scenario,” said Erin. “It felt like an eternity, but it was only a few minutes. I’d just completed a CPR course two months before this happened to become a personal trainer. I really had a good knowledge of what to do, but I never imagined I would need it to save my dad’s life. I don’t think he would have made it if not for that training.”

Joe was rushed to the emergency room at Trinity Rock Island by EMTS from the fire department, where his condition was stabilized, and he was then moved to Trinity’s cardiac catheterization lab. “I was in bad shape,” said Joe. “The doctors said, if my daughter had not been there to perform CPR, I wouldn’t have made it. She means the world to me.”

Joe is sharing this story to raise awareness to the importance of learning CPR.

“We really hope my story will encourage others to become CPR certified. Erin’s CPR training saved my life,” said Hammond. “Get the training now, and you might just save someone’s life. You never know when you’ll need to use it.”

He and Erin have started walking together again and have become even closer through this experience.

“We’ll keep walking,” said Erin. “I can’t say enough about all the memories I have with my dad, and I’m so thankful to have him here to make more memories in the years to come.”

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How do you say thank you to someone who saved your life?

When Rod Glasper, 62, woke up in St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center, he didn’t know why he was there. His sister, Inger Glasper, told him a nurse had saved his life after his heart stopped beating while he was shopping at an H-E-B grocery store.

On Friday, Glasper met the nurse who performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation on him, 64-year-old Lily DeVarona, for the first time in person at a news conference outside the hospital.

How do you say thank you to someone who saved your life?” asked Glasper, who lives in Austin.

“This lady gave me more time with my family, gave me more time with my friends. … I’m blessed that somebody would stop and put her hands on me during this time of COVID. I’ve had all three COVID shots, but you can’t tell because it’s not written on my forehead.”

Inger Gasper, right, thanks registered nurse Lily DeVarona for saving the life of her bother, Rod Glasper, left, at St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center on Friday.

Glasper collapsed when a potentially fatal arrhythmia caused his heart to stop, said DeVarona. An arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat.

DeVarona, who works in the recovery room at St. David’s Surgical Hospital in Austin, said Friday that she was getting some last-minute snacks for a University of Texas football game at an H-E-B on RM620 in Round Rock when she saw Glasper lying in an aisle.


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Prevent Workplace Incidents Before They Start

Identifying risks and taking proactive safety measures to reduce hazard exposure on important topics from ergonomics to chemical management is crucial to creating a safe workplace.

This year we are offering resources to help safety heroes like you as well as items you can easily distribute to your employees.

Get additional National Safety Month resources here.

Grow Your Safety Knowledge

Mini-Guide: Steps for Conducting a Risk Assessment – NEW



Risk Assessment Template – NEW


Webinar – Prevent Incidents Before They Happen: Prevention Through Design
Hosted by VelocityEHS – Award-winning EHS & Sustainability Software
Workplace safety incidents can devastate employee health, undermine confidence in safety programs and result in annual U.S. costs of $171 billion, according to a 2019 NSC estimate. But most companies still react to injuries rather than follow a prevention-based strategy. Learn about the NIOSH initiative, Prevention through Design, and the importance of tracking how risks in one area of operations affect risks in others. Get the presentation.

Safety+Health® Resources


Share with Your Workforce

Get your workers involved during National Safety Month with this brand new tip sheet covering common workplace safety risks:

Employee tip sheet: Common Workplace Safety Risks – NEW



Workplace Safety Toolkits

Access toolkits with ready-to-distribute resources like 5-minute safety talks, posters, tip sheets, and more. Browse all the topics to help address hazards in your workplace on topics like:

  • Hazard awareness
  • Chemical management
  • Fall prevention
  • Ergonomics
  • Emergency preparedness


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Tips and Tricks for National Electrical Safety Month

May is National Electrical Safety Month, and it’s a great time to raise awareness on how to avoid potential electrical hazards.

By taking simple precautions, everyone can avoid electrically related fires, fatalities, injuries, and property loss.

Here are some safety tips:


  • Check electric cords for fraying or cracking. Replace cords that may be damaged, and don’t overload electric outlets.
  • Remember extension cords are intended to be temporary; they are not intended as permanent household wiring.
  • Don’t run cords under carpets or rugs and don’t tack or nail cords to walls or floors.
  • Keep electric appliances and tools away from water. Never reach for or unplug an appliance that has fallen into water; instead, turn the power off at the breaker before you unplug the appliance or remove it from the water.
  • Never put anything other than an electrical plug in an outlet. Use outlet covers or caps to protect children.
  • Keep your home’s electrical system in good repair. Contact a licensed electrical contractor if you have flickering lights, sparks, non-functioning outlets, or need wiring repairs or upgrades.



  • Never touch downed power lines!
  • Always call your local utility or 911 if you see lines down.
  • Watch for overhead lines every time you use a ladder, work on roofs, trees, or carry long tools or loads. Keep kites, model airplanes, and metallic balloons away from power lines.
  • Know what’s below before you dig. At least 3 days before starting any digging or excavating project,  call 811, the National One Call Center, to have underground utility lines, pipes, and cables marked for free.
  • Avoid planting trees underneath power lines or near utility equipment.


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The National Stand-Down to Prevent Falls is this week, how is your organization participating?

Fatalities caused by falls from elevation continue to be a leading cause of death for construction employees, accounting for 401 of the 1,061 construction fatalities recorded in 2019 (BLS data). Those deaths were preventable. The National Safety Stand-Down raises fall hazard awareness across the country in an effort to stop fall fatalities and injuries.


What is a Safety Stand-Down?

A Safety Stand-Down is a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety. Any workplace can hold a stand-down by taking a break to focus on “Fall Hazards” and reinforcing the importance of “Fall Prevention”. Employers of companies not exposed to fall hazards can also use this opportunity to have a conversation with employees about the other job hazards they face, protective methods, and the company’s safety policies and goals. It can also be an opportunity for employees to talk to management about fall and other job hazards they see.

Who Can Participate?

Anyone who wants to prevent hazards in the workplace can participate in the Stand-Down. In past years, participants included commercial construction companies of all sizes, residential construction contractors, sub- and independent contractors, highway construction companies, general industry employers, the U.S. Military, other government participants, unions, employer’s trade associations, institutes, employee interest organizations, and safety equipment manufacturers.


OSHA is partnering with key groups to assist with this effort, including the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), the National Occupational Research Agenda (NORA), OSHA approved State Plans, State consultation programs, the Center for Construction Research and Training (CPWR), the American Society of Safety Professionals (ASSP), the National Safety Council, the National Construction Safety Executives (NCSE), the U.S. Air Force, and the OSHA Training Institute (OTI) Education Centers.

How to Conduct a Safety Stand-Down and FAQs

Companies can conduct a Safety Stand-Down by taking a break to have a toolbox talk or another safety activity such as conducting safety equipment inspections, developing rescue plans, or discussing job-specific hazards. Managers are encouraged to plan a stand-down that works best for their workplace anytime. See Suggestions to Prepare for a Successful “Stand-Down” and Highlights from the Past Stand-Downs. OSHA also hosts an Events page with events that are free and open to the public to help employers and employees find events in your area.

If you plan to host a free event that is open to the public, see OSHA’s Events page to submit the event details and to contact your Regional Stand-Down Coordinator.

Certificate of Participation

Employers will be able to provide feedback about their Stand-Down and download a Certificate of Participation following the Stand-Down.

Share Your Story

If you want to share information with OSHA on your Safety Stand-Down, Fall Prevention Programs or suggestions on how we can improve future initiatives like this, please send your email to Also share your Stand-Down story on social media, with the hashtag: #StandDown4Safet


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Helpful Tips for National Burn Awareness week

Each year, over 450,000 individuals are seen in emergency departments, clinics, or physician’s offices for the treatment of a burn injury in the United States and Canada. In 2014 alone, there were 3,275 recorded deaths from fire and smoke inhalation injuries. The majority of these injuries are preventable. The American Burn Association strives to bring awareness to the causes of such devastating and costly injuries and encourages everyone to make simple environmental and behavioral changes that can save lives.


Below are some great resources from the American Burn Association created to help spread the word on the dangers that exist and what can be done to decrease the risk.

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Hands-only CPR proves easier, saves more lives

CPR saves lives. That’s a given.

And in 2016, after the American Heart Association came out with a new way of doing CPR, even more lives are being saved.

According to the statistics, 1,000 Americans have a heart attack every day.

“The most important period when someone goes into cardiac arrest is the first 3 to 4 minutes,” said Dan Schaefer, Operations Chief for Metro Area Ambulance. This is why CPR, administered during those critical minutes, can make a difference in saving a life. But times have changed.

The old-fashioned CPR process using a mouth-to-mouth technique has become a thing of the past.  Schaefer says it was just too difficult for a lot of people to do and many were reluctant to do it.

“Obviously nobody likes to think about, especially these days, about other people’s germs and we all know, that was a factor on whether or not bystanders would do CPR,” Schaefer explained.

So, in 2016, hands-only CPR emerged.

“Research and obviously the science of it all came back and said, ‘You know, chest compression alone for the first three minutes is actually better,’” he said.

Now, bystanders are asked to only do chest compressions, 100 per minute. Science shows there’s still enough oxygen in the blood and the compressions get it where it needs to go. Schaefer says the idea is this process will help until medical help arrives after three minutes or so. Hands-only CPR is easier — bystanders are more willing to do it, and the proof is in lives saved. “It’s been a big move and we’re seeing it in the numbers,” said Schaefer. “We got to watch survival rates from 6 percent move up into the 50 percent rate.”

That, he says, is impressive. But Schaefer still stresses the importance of public education and training — good compressions for a good outcome in cardiac arrest, he notes.


Call Now to speak with a CPR/First Aid Training Specialist

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Florida deputy reunited with 5-year-old girl she saved 3 years ago

A Florida sheriff’s deputy was recently reunited with a child she saved and shared a post on Facebook about the emotional experience.

Corporal Sherry Rego described it as the best day of her entire year.

“She was crying happy tears a minute ago when we called and asked permission to share this beautiful post from her personal Facebook page,” the Collier County Sheriff’s Department wrote.

The corporal wrote that while she was pumping gas, she was approached by a little girl.

“While pumping gas this beautiful girl came to my truck… tears rolled in my eyes as I looked at her, her parents and big brother… Her mom said to her do you remember your angel, why did she say this? Because just over 3 years ago I was giving her lifeless daughter CPR. She was almost 2 and today she proudly shared she is 5 and on her way to Disney!”

The corporal said the experience was a reminder of why she is a first responder.

“This was such a blessed reminder why I do the job I do, and beyond grateful to the amazing agency I work for that believes in top notch training for their deputies and equipment to do our everyday tasks. Enjoy your Disney weekend pretty girl, you left my heart so full today.”


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Recovering From a Disaster – Helpful Tips To Keep You Safe

Health & Safety Guidelines

Recovering from disaster is usually a gradual process. Safety is a primary issue, as are mental and physical well-being. If assistance is available, knowing how to access it makes the process faster and less stressful.

Your first concern after a disaster is your family’s health and safety. You need to consider possible safety issues and monitor family health and well-being.

Aiding the Injured

A man receives medical attention after a disaster

  • Administer first aid and seek medical attention for any injured person following a disaster.
  • Check for injuries. Do not attempt to move seriously injured persons unless they are in immediate danger of death or further injury. If you must move an unconscious person, first stabilize the neck and back, then call for help immediately.
  • If the victim is not breathing, carefully position the victim for artificial respiration, clear the airway and commence mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
  • Maintain body temperature with blankets. Be sure the victim does not become overheated.
  • Never try to feed liquids to an unconscious person.


Close up of man's rubber safety boots, as he is standing in running water

  • Be aware of exhaustion. Don’t try to do too much at once. Set priorities and pace yourself. Get enough rest.
  • Drink plenty of clean water. Eat well.
  • Wear sturdy work boots and gloves.
  • Wash your hands thoroughly with soap and clean water often when working in debris.

Safety Issues

A vehicle on a washed out road encounters a downed power line.

  • Be aware of safety issues after a disaster.
  • Be aware of new safety issues created by the disaster. Watch for washed out roads, contaminated buildings, contaminated water, gas leaks, broken glass, damaged electrical wiring and slippery floors.
  • Inform local authorities about health and safety issues, including chemical spills, downed power lines, washed out roads, smoldering insulation and dead animals.


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