City councilman steps in to save man using CPR during police promotion ceremony

A Jersey City councilman’s quick thinking helped save a man’s life after he collapsed at a police promotion ceremony. 

Councilman Daniel Rivera was in his usual spot in the City Hall chambers at the ceremony, with everyone in the room so happy, when suddenly the mood shifted.

“I hear the commotion and then I hear his daughter yell ‘Help, help’,” Rivera said. “That’s when I saw her dad keel over.”

John Macri, the father-in-law of Deputy Chief Michael Gajewski, had collapsed.

There was no pulse and he was not breathing. As a crowd gathered around, his daughter was administering chest compressions.

“Councilman Danny Rivera and my wife Dawn began to perform CPR on him,” Gajewski said. “She began the chest compressions, and Councilman Rivera began giving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.”

“We gave him two big mouth-to-mouth blows into the mouth, and she kept on with the compressions and then he came back, but he was out for like a minute, no pulse, zero,” Rivera said. “You could feel the tension in the air.”

Then suddenly there was a pulse, a breath and the color started to return to his face. It seemed like the whole room at once exhaled.

“It was amazing to see his finger move, and then once we saw his finger move, you can actually see the color coming in,” Rivera said. “Then he just popped up and that was great.”

“My father started to come around again, he got his color back and his eyes opened up and he began speaking again,” Gajewski said.

Macri was spending the night in the hospital and is doing great.

The councilman, once a Marine, always a Marine, is happy to have helped.

“I have to tell you from the bottom of my heart, my entire family is very grateful to him,” Gajewski said.


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CPR-certified ranch staff in Lakeland save life of teen who went into cardiac arrest

Bryelle Touchton was wrapping up her first horse riding lesson at Spring Lane Ranch when a staff member noticed the teen acting strangely.

“I could see her walking the horse back into the barn and when she got to the far end she looked like she was getting woozy and she looked like she fainted,” said Kim Wilkey, the site manager at the ranch.

The 15-year-old girl collapsed in front of her horse, Canela.

“She was blue. She was not reacting to anything,” said Alex Zapata, a trainer at Spring Lane Ranch.

Zapata and several of his colleagues jumped into action, administering CPR. They had no way to know Bryelle had gone into cardiac arrest.

“We evaluated her right away and could tell that she had no pulse and no respiration so we started CPR right away,” explained Wilkey.

“We started compressions, hard, hard, hard, and she reacted to it,” said Zapata.

It took almost 15 minutes for paramedics to arrive. Her mother, Beth Collins watched as Spring Lane Ranch employees kept her daughter alive.

“I’m really ever more so grateful for Spring Lane Ranch for everything that they have done for my daughter,” said Collins. “Had it not been for them, she wouldn’t be here today.”

The workers at the ranch were CPR-certified last August.

“You never know when you’re going to need it. Especially like that, a 15-year-old girl, you would never expect that,” said Zapata.

“Most people don’t survive the kind of episode that she had. We were all thrilled that we were able to be there for her,” said Wilkey.

Bryelle has been in the hospital for almost a week, but it will be a long road to recovery.

“She’s doing a lot better,” said Collins. “Especially over the past couple of days, she’s been out of the bed a couple of times. She understands everything.”

Collins says her daughter had no previous health scares. Doctors say she could need a pacemaker or defibrillator inserted into her heart.


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CPR – Do you know what to do?

CPR/First Aid – Corporate Classes

Anyone can learn CPR, are your employees trained to save a life? 

UniFirst First Aid + Safety offers weekly CPR classes for companies and groups, UniFirst First Aid + Safety’s CPRAED, and First Aid training program will help employers meet OSHA and other federal and state regulatory requirements for training employees how to respond and care for medical emergencies at work.

This 2-year certification course conforms to the latest AHA Guidelines Update for CPR and ECC, and the latest AHA and ARC Guidelines Update for First Aid.

CPR classes are a great team-building opportunity!


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CPR – Are You CPR Ready To Save A Life?

CPR/First Aid – Corporate Classes

Anyone can learn CPR, are your employees trained to save a life? 

UniFirst First Aid + Safety offers weekly CPR classes for companies and groups, UniFirst First Aid + Safety’s CPRAED and First Aid training program will help employers meet OSHA and other federal and state regulatory requirements for training employees how to respond and care for medical emergencies at work.

This 2-year certification course conforms to the 2015 AHA Guidelines Update for CPR and ECC, and the 2015 AHA and ARC Guidelines Update for First Aid.

CPR classes are a great team building opportunity!


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Forklift Collisions: Numbers Game Pedestrians Usually Lose

OSHA estimates there are 1.5 million lift operators in the United States.

That’s a lot of lifts and a lot of people around lifts. Pedestrians, lift operators, regulators, and employers agree; no one wants to see anyone get hurt. Forklifts and workers must remain apart. There are differing perspectives on who should have right of way (who yields to whom).

Forklifts are the second leading cause of machine-related death in the workplace. Struck-by and tip-over are the two leading causes of forklift-related fatalities.

Each year in the United States, on average, 100 die, 95,000 are injured, and 20,000 are seriously injured. An average of 60 lost workdays is incurred per incident (9x the average for all other injuries). Bad things happen when people and lifts attempt to share the same place in time. Regulators have an interest in preventing bad things.

Currently, more than half of all U.S. states are covered by Local Emphasis Programs that target industrial trucks and warehouse safety. Compliance officers will look more thoroughly at lift operations and may be more likely to visit industries known to operate lifts.

OSHA standards are still largely based on consensus standards that existed in the 1960s. The standard on industrial trucks was based on American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) B56.1-1969 until the training portion of the OSHA standard was revised in 1998. The most current forklift standard is an ANSI/ATSDF Standard B56-2015.

Until recently, there wasn’t any language that clearly specified which party should have right-of-way. The 1969 forklift consensus standard that OSHA references just says to stay out of the way of ambulances, fire trucks, and other vehicles in emergency situations. The 2015 version of the ANSI standard, Section 5.3.2 provides the updated guidance to lift operators, “Yield the right of way to pedestrians and emergency vehicles such as ambulances and fire trucks.”

Pedestrians Lose in Collisions but Commonly Win in Court

Consensus standards, like ANSI standards, are more than suggestions. Consensus standards define the generally agreed upon standard of care which matters in a court of law. And they define hazards and precautions that should have been recognized which matters when “General Duty” catch-all clause citations are issued.

The message is and always has been the same: separate forklifts and pedestrians. People are vulnerable relative to industrial vehicles and people generally have the right of way in plant settings (just as they would on public streets). Things usually play out this way in jury trials where negligence lands on forklift operators more times than not.

In August of 2015, $15.2 million in relief was awarded to a worker whose foot was seriously injured when he was struck and run over by a forklift at a trade show in Chicago. The forklift operator worked for the show’s organizer who was breaking down booths; the injured party was representing an exhibitor at the show. OSHA citations totaling $91,000 were issued for failing to ensure driver training, failing to ensure safe clearances for forklift operations, failing to train drivers on specific issues related to pedestrians present, and other related issues. The prosecution called attention to the weight of the lift (58,000 pounds) and entered testimony from witnesses alleging that the driver did not keep a clear view of his path and did not maintain a proper lookout or spotter.

In this case and others, most of the responsibility falls on lift operators. Cases like this imply pedestrians have right of way. Cases like this also show that being right doesn’t always equate to staying safe.

Preventing Collisions Requires a Team Effort

There has been a lot of regulatory focus on forklift operators, yet frequency and severity remain relatively high in comparison to other industry exposures. Maybe regulators have been focused on the wrong thing? Maybe forklift operators are not solely to blame when workers are struck by forklifts?

There is no standard that speaks to the responsibility of pedestrians. Leading companies preach mutual responsibility or “safety is everyone’s responsibility” and educate about the severity of forklift incidents, lift and operator limitations, and how to establish intentions through eye contact and hand signals.

Beyond education of lift operators and pedestrians, the workplace and lifting equipment must be maintained in good operating condition. This includes ensuring adequate lighting, good floor conditions and housekeeping, marking and protecting walk aisles, and allocating aisle widths conducive to lift operation. Last but not least, employer management systems must ensure proper diagnosis and closure of incidents and issues voiced.

When pedestrians and lifts collide, everybody loses. It’s important that everyone knows what their responsibility is.

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Dunkin’ worker performs CPR on man who collapses at rest stop

A Dunkin’ employee helped save a man’s life Wednesday morning when she performed CPR on him after he collapsed at a Candia rest stop.

Surveillance video shows David Wood, 29, of Tennessee collapsing in front of his truck. Another trucker saw what happened and called 911.

A customer in the Dunkin’ drive-thru told employees what happened, and April Merchant, 24, ran outside.

She and two men pulled Wood out of the snow and onto a blanket. He had no pulse, and she performed CPR on him for several minutes before police arrived and took over.

Wood was taken to a hospital and is recovering.

Felicia Bertram, David Wood’s mother, flew up from Tennessee to be by her son’s side. She’s calling Merchant a hero.

“Even the doctors said if she had not done that, he would not be with us,” Bertram said.

A picture of Wood shared by his mother shows him smiling in his hospital bed. Merchant said she got to meet his mother, who gave her a big hug and thanked her for saving her son.

“She gave us our family,” Bertram said. “He has three beautiful children, a beautiful wife, and I don’t know what I would’ve done if I lost my son.”

But Merchant is reluctant to call herself a hero.

“I don’t know about all that,” she said. “It makes me anxious when people call me a hero, because I just don’t feel like I am.”

She said the CPR class she learned in college kicked in when she ran out to help Wood.

I took a class a long time ago, probably about six years ago,” she said. “I just remembered a lot from it. It was really helpful.”


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On-screen CPR: Heart-stopping drama doesn’t always reflect reality

When we watch movies and TV, we suspend belief that people can’t actually fly, zombies aren’t real and animals can’t talk.

So when CPR and other heroic measures to revive an unconscious victim pop up on the screen, should we react the same way?

“Movies very rarely get it right,” said Dr. Howie Mell, an emergency room physician in suburban Chicago who has also been a firefighter and paramedic. “They need to create drama and tell a story in a succinct and cohesive manner. That doesn’t always lend itself to an accurate portrayal.”

Many health professionals wish that were different. Several studies in recent years have compared on-screen cardiac crises to reality and lamented the results.

“In movies, defibrillation and cardiac arrest survival outcomes are often portrayed inaccurately, representing missed opportunities for public health education,” concluded a 2014 study in the journal Resuscitation.

A 2017 analysis of three popular American and British TV shows in Postgraduate Medical Journal drew similar conclusions, declaring, “Given the popularity of television medical dramas, the poor depiction may be significantly contributing to poor public CPR knowledge.”

Dr. Neil Shulman, associate professor of medicine at Emory University in Atlanta as well as an author and humorist, said popular culture can play a significant role in patient empowerment.

“It’s easier to attract people to something that will make them laugh or be entertained than to be educated,” said Shulman, whose novel “What? Dead … Again?” was made into the 1991 film “Doc Hollywood,” starring Michael J. Fox. “But if you can mix the two, you can have a giant impact.”

Mell, a spokesperson for the American College of Emergency Physicians, noted several areas where entertainment is falling short. Foremost, he said, is the common scene where “the ambulance comes roaring in and the CPR save occurs in the hospital, where the medical team is the center of the drama. That’s exceptionally rare.”

Most cardiac arrests occur outside the hospital, with survival often depending on a bystander starting CPR immediately and an emergency medical team arriving quickly. When that doesn’t happen, he said, the victim will probably die.

“In the best circumstances, maybe one or two out of 10 are going to survive,” Mell said. “But the public believes it’s nine out of 10. Hollywood changes the perception.”

The biggest factor in increasing the save rate, Mell said, is widespread CPR training. Starting CPR immediately can double or triple the odds of someone surviving a cardiac arrest.

“You are far better pushing on the chest of someone who doesn’t need it than standing around trying to decide if it’s necessary,” he said.

But do we learn that from watching heroic on-screen doctors?

“I think I have watched about as much film and probably more television than anybody in the country,” said Bob Thompson, professor of television and popular culture at Syracuse University in New York. “I’ve seen a lot of CPR, but I certainly don’t feel like what I learned qualified me to do it, any more than I’ve watched people deliver a baby hundreds of times and don’t know more than to say, ‘Breathe! One more push!’”

Thompson said the CPR message has been further muddled over the years by frequent scenes of comic awkwardness involving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

That message has changed. In 2015 the American Heart Association included Hands-Only CPR in its guidelines to allow those who don’t know how to give “rescue breaths,” or are uncomfortable doing it, the option to provide only chest compressions until qualified help arrives.

For children, both chest compressions and rescue breaths are still recommended.

“It’s extremely easy to provide CPR to an adult,” Mell said. “Place your hands in the middle of the chest and compress at the rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute, which is roughly the beat of the song ‘Staying Alive.’ That’s it.”

Mell said that an AED, which delivers an electric shock to the heart to restore a normal rhythm after cardiac arrest, comes with simple instructions and helpful graphics so most untrained rescuers can use it successfully.

Defibrillators are key to Mell’s other dramatic pet peeve, the ubiquitous scene where actors in white coats apply paddles to a patient who has flat-lined and shock him or her back to life.

“That always makes me cringe,” he said. “It makes for good drama, but we don’t do that.”

The shock actually stops a heart that is twitching or not beating rhythmically in hopes of restoring a regular heartbeat.

“It’s kind of like a reset button,” he said. “But you don’t do control-alt-delete when the computer is off.”

Mell doesn’t expect Hollywood to dilute its entertainment value, but he does have a suggestion for popular shows like “Grey’s Anatomy.”

“I would love to see a couple of episodes where they show an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and then at the end show a two-minute video about how to do CPR,” he said.

Thompson agreed, but has this advice in the meantime.

“Enjoy the show,” he said. “Then go take a CPR course.”


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Active Shooter – What You Should Know….

What to do if you find yourself in an active shooting event, how to recognize signs of potential violence around you, and what to expect after an active shooting takes place.  Remember during an active shooting to RUN. HIDE. FIGHT.

Be Informed

  • Sign up for active shooter training.
  • If you see something, say something to an authority right away.
  • Sign up to receive local emergency alerts and register your work and personal contact information with any work sponsored alert system.
  • Be aware of your environment and any possible dangers.

Make a Plan

  • Make a plan with your family, and ensure everyone knows what they would do if confronted with an active shooter.
  • Look for the two nearest exits anywhere you go, and have an escape path in mind & identify places you could hide.
  • Understand the plans for individuals with disabilities or other access and functional needs.


RUN and escape, if possible.

  • Getting away from the shooter or shooters is the top priority.
  • Leave your belongings behind and getaway.
  • Help others escape, if possible, but evacuate regardless of whether others agree to follow.
  • Warn and prevent individuals from entering an area where the active shooter may be.
  • Call 911 when you are safe, and describe shooter, location, and weapons.

HIDE, if escape is not possible.

  • Get out of the shooter’s view and stay very quiet.
  • Silence all electronic devices and make sure they won’t vibrate.
  • Lock and block doors, close blinds, and turn off lights.
  • Don’t hide in groups- spread out along walls or hide separately to make it more difficult for the shooter.
  • Try to communicate with the police silently. Use text message or social media to tag your location, or put a sign in a window.
  • Stay in place until law enforcement gives you the all-clear.
  • Your hiding place should be out of the shooter’s view and provide protection if shots are fired in your direction.

FIGHT as an absolute last resort.

  • Commit to your actions and act as aggressively as possible against the shooter.
  • Recruit others to ambush the shooter with makeshift weapons like chairs, fire extinguishers, scissors, books, etc.
  • Be prepared to cause severe or lethal injury to the shooter.
  • Throw items and improvise weapons to distract and disarm the shooter.


  • Keep your hands visible and empty.
  • Know that law enforcement’s first task is to end the incident, and they may have to pass injured along the way.
  • Officers may be armed with rifles, shotguns, and/or handguns and may use pepper spray or tear gas to control the situation.
  • Officers will shout commands and may push individuals to the ground for their safety.
  • Follow law enforcement instructions and evacuate in the direction they come from unless otherwise instructed.
  • Take care of yourself first, and then you may be able to help the wounded before first responders arrive.
  • If the injured are in immediate danger, help get them to safety.
  • While you wait for the first responder to arrive, provide first aid. Apply direct pressure to wounded areas and use tourniquets if you have been trained to do so.
  • Turn wounded people onto their sides if they are unconscious and keep them warm.
  • Consider seeking professional help for you and your family to cope with the long-term effects of the trauma.

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Metro Transit train operator uses CPR to save man’s life

A Metro Transit train operator used his CPR skills to help save a life. Now, Metro Transit is sharing his story to show the importance of training for emergency situations.

Train operator Jim Peach took a CPR class 30 years ago after witnessing a fellow Northwest Airlines mechanic die of a heart attack. Then, on Sept. 19, 2018, Peach saw a crowd gather around a man having a seizure on a platform at the Cedar-Riverside Station.

According to Metro Transit, Rail Supervisor Jim Clancy called 911 from the Rail Control Center as Peach and a bystander removed the man’s backpack to lay him on his back.

“I remember saying, ‘We’re losing him.’ He was turning purple,” Peach told Metro Transit.

Peach told Metro Transit he performed about 10 chest compressions before the man’s color returned. He then turned the man on his side and asked for his name. The man responded “Kyle.”

“That’s when my head about exploded,” Peach told Metro Transit. “It was great. I was just, ‘My God, that just worked.’ When I got up and left, a lot of people started clapping.”

According to Metro Transit, Peach knows firsthand the importance of saving a life. As a baby, he was in a house fire and was rushed to a hospital.

“I was very badly burned at four months old, and it took me 61 years and seven months to pay it forward,” Peach said in the press release.

In January, the Metropolitan Council’s Transportation Committee recognized Peach for his actions.


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This week is Poison Prevention Week – What you need to know….

Poison Prevention Week reminds us that some of the deadliest and most dangerous items in our homes are hiding in plain sight. Just take a peek under your kitchen sink or in your laundry room. And don’t forget to have a look inside your medicine cabinet. Household cleaning agents, prescription medications, pesticides, and other items can pose serious hazards to the health and well-being of our families and even our pets. And there are a whole host of items that we may overlook which can also be dangerous, such as art supplies, plants, and food.

How to Observe Poison Prevention Week

  1. Memorize the Poison Control helpline phone number

    It’s easy to remember: 1-800-222-1222. Save it on your smartphone. And make sure to place the number where others can easily find it. (The kitchen fridge is a good place.)

  2. “Poison-proof” your home

    There are plenty of resources out there with handy lists of ways to poison proof your home. The government’s Health Resources and Services Administration is an excellent place to start.

Spread the word

Tell your families, neighbors, and coworkers about poisons and how to keep themselves safe. This can be done in emails, memos, or in groups set up for this purpose on social media.

4 Critical Things You Must Know About Poisons

  1. Poisons pose a threat of widespread danger

    About 30 children die every year from being poisoned by common household items, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

  2. They’re also a source of close calls and worry

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission also reports that accidental poisoning accounts for more than 2 million calls each year to poison control centers and more than 80,000 visits to the emergency room.

  3. Effective advocacy and education can help

    National Poison Prevention Week contributed to an 80 percent reduction in poison-related deaths since the early 1970s.

There’s a particularly ominous threat out there

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that has no color or smell. Cars, appliances, furnaces, and other household items can emit carbon monoxide.



Why Poison Prevention Week is Important

  1. Protecting our children is our top priority

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that 9 out of 10 unintentional child poisonings happen in the home. Poison Prevention Week gives us the tools to make sure our children don’t become another statistic.

  2. There’s so much to know

    It’s easy to become overwhelmed by all the warning labels affixed to the products we bring into our homes. Poison Prevention Week inspires us to learn the basics and to continuously update our knowledge with the latest info.

  3. Parents must get involved

    Parents play a critical role in helping their tweens learn about the responsible use of OTC (over-the-counter) medicines.


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