Friends encourage folks to learn CPR after saving a life

A fun camping trip took a dangerous turn last weekend. But thanks to the help of a Bedford County dispatcher, a group of friends were able to save a man’s life using CPR.

“I was terrified, just holding your friend in your hands, and there’s nothing there, just a vessel,” Joshua Martin said.

He tried his best to stay calm when he found his friend, Josh George, unconscious last weekend. The friends had been camping at Smith Mountain Lake when George became dangerously dehydrated.

“Saturday, Josh said he was going to lay down to a little nap because he was tired from the night before, and we found him an hour and a half later, and he was unresponsive,” Martin said.

The group of friends called 911. Mistine Traegner, a communications officer for Bedford County Dispatch, was the voice they heard on the other end of the line.

“Right away, get the CPR going and that kind of stuff, and it was hot, and they did really good, they did the CPR for I know it had to be at least 20 to 30 minutes before we got everyone out to them,” Traegner said.

With Traegner’s help, the friends saved George’s life.

“To have that extra guiding light, probably made a world of difference,” Martin said.

But the friends say they now know how important it is to learn CPR.

“I didn’t know CPR, not certified, but I think I’ll try and get certified, just in case, you never know when you’ll need it and it’s better to know and not need it than need it and not know it,” Martin said.

“I had training in CPR over 10 years ago, so I think it’s probably a good idea to stay updated with that information and training,” McKenzi Vail, a friend who also did CPR on George, said.

Traegner certainly agrees.

“Because anything can happen at any time. I mean, CPR is 100 percent, please learn it, go to your local volunteer fire company, go to your local ambulance, contact your local police, sheriff department, get your CPR,” Traegner said.

George was sent to the hospital and released a few days later.


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Mother credits CPR class for saving son’s life

A Bloomington mother’s mission is to encourage all parents to know CPR

3-year-old Becket Neeely loves dinosaurs and has endless energy. In the fall of 2017, his family was visiting friends in Chicago. In a moment of miscommunication, Sarah and her husband thought the other had an eye on Becket.

“I didn’t know where my son was and there he was at the bottom of the pool,” Neeley said. “Also there was a lot of had I done this, had I just followed him or been watching him more closely this wouldn’t have happened. And there was a lot of self-blame.”

As her friend called 911, Sarah started doing CPR on Becket, alternating between chest compressions and breathing. She had taken a child CPR class just a month prior as part of a moms’ support group.

“It was just there, the knowledge was just there and I think had I not taken the class I would have been a lot more lost,” said Neely. “I wouldn’t have had a clue of where to start or even what to do.”

Cassi Adkins is the CPR instructor who taught Sarah’s class. She’s the birthing center supervisor at OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington.

“In the situation don’t be afraid to jump in and do it,” said Cassi Adkins. “There may not be anybody else who knows how to do it so don’t be afraid and then get help there as quickly as you can.”

Now, Neeley is on a mission to spread the word about getting trained and certified to as many people who care for children as soon as possible.

“You never think you’re going to use it until you do,” said Neeley. “I couldn’t be more thankful that I did.”

After spending the night in the hospital, Neeley said Becket showed no residual effects and still loves the pool.


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It’s still safe to perform CPR during the pandemic, study says

Is it safe to perform CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) to try to save his life? Or are you risking being infected with the novel coronavirus or giving it to a dying man?

There’s an answer: It’s strongly encouraged that people perform CPR or chest compressions on others during the global pandemic, according to a report published by a group of Seattle emergency room physicians in the journal Circulation.

In fact, you may actually be hundreds of times more likely to save the dying man’s life than you are to die from COVID-19 by coming to his aid.

Rescue breaths in a pandemic

Here’s how the math works.

From January 1 through April 15, emergency medical services in King County, Washington (which includes Seattle) responded to 1,067 cases of cardiac arrests occurring outside of a hospital setting. Once those patients made it to the hospital, less than 10% of them were diagnosed with COVID-19.

From there, the researchers also made their CPR safety calculation by cross-referencing a would-be rescuer’s own risk of ultimately dying from their own act of compassion.

“Given a 1% mortality for COVID-19, approximately 1 rescuer might die in 10,000 bystanders CPR events,” the researchers wrote. “By comparison, bystander CPR saves more than 300 additional lives among 10,000 patients with (out-of-hospital cardiac arrest).”

Their advice: Don’t let the risk of infection scare you off from potentially handing someone else a second chance at life.

This study took place in Seattle, a city that saw 15 deaths from COVID-19 per 100,000 residents, less than half of the average U.S. mortality, according to Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center’s Mortality Analyses.

The level of fear and risk for performing CPR could be greater in areas with higher COVID-19 prevalence, noted Dr. Michael Sayre, the study’s lead author and a medical professor at the University of Washington’s department of emergency medicine.

“We were worried that people were dying of fear rather than the disease,” he said.

If you’re not CPR certified, hands-only compressions can work

Every year 805,000 Americans have a heart attack, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

If you find yourself calling 911 to help one of them, the operator will ask you if the patient is awake and if they’re breathing normally. If you answer no to both questions, the operator will begin giving instructions on how to provide chest compressions until paramedics arrive.

You don’t need to do mouth-to-mouth during a pandemic. Studies show that patients who received only chest compressions, rather than CPR with mouth-to-mouth breathing, have a similar likelihood of surviving to hospital discharge.

The American Heart Association amended its CPR recommendations in 2008, issuing guidance that bystanders could perform hands-only CPR as the most effective means of trying to save someone’s life until help arrived.

“Bystanders who witness the sudden collapse of an adult should activate the emergency medical services (EMS) system and provide high-quality chest compressions by pushing hard and fast in the middle of the victim’s chest, with minimal interruptions,” the guidance stated.

It’s imperative to act as decisively and quickly as possible.

“The chance of survival goes down by 10% for every minute without CPR,” said Dr. Comilla Sasson, vice president for science and innovation in emergency cardiovascular care at the American Heart Association, in March. “It’s a 10-minute window to death in many cases.”

“We know that if you can start putting your hands on the chest and do compressions right away, it extends that 10-minute time interval,” she continued. “It pushes it back, and buys that person more time for help to arrive.”

Bystanders are still providing CPR during the pandemic

And let’s loop back to the original example of the stranger collapsing on the street. That hypothetical isn’t all that common, pandemic, or otherwise.

“The rescuer is likely to be a family member,” Sayre said. “You will know if they’re sick or not.”

And there doesn’t appear to be empirical data linking CPR and coronavirus infection so far.

In fact, during the course of this study in Seattle, the researchers didn’t come across a single person who contracted COVID-19 from administering CPR on someone experiencing cardiac arrest. They also found that people’s likelihood of performing CPR during real medical emergencies hadn’t slipped in any meaningful way during the past few pandemic months.

And this data could be particularly important in order to help first responders know how to protect themselves when going out on a call in the future, as the number of cases in an area waxes and wanes, Sayre argued.

This preliminary assessment of the risks could pay off if the pandemic ramps up in the fall.

“If we have a big second wave, and COVID overwhelms the health care system, the risks could be higher,” he said.

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Every Second Counts – Emergency Preparedness


“Every Second Counts: Plan Two Ways Out” calls all of us to be aware of fire safety measures in the home.

According to the NFPA, “the synthetic fibers used in modern home furnishings, along with the fact that newer homes tend to be built with more open spaces and unprotected lightweight construction, all contribute to an increased rate at which fire burns.”

There are a variety of ways to take steps to make sure your home is fire safe, including:

  • Draw a map of your home with all members of your household, marking two exits from each room and a path to the outside from each exit.
  • Practice your home fire drill twice a year. Conduct one at night and one during the day with everyone in your home, and practice using different ways out.
  • Teach children how to escape on their own in case you can’t help them.
  • Make sure the number of your home is clearly marked and easy for the fire department to find.
  • Close doors behind you as you leave – this may slow the spread of smoke, heat, and fire.
  • Once you get outside, stay outside. Never go back inside a burning building.

Fire safety is important for everyone, especially for educators who interact with children on a daily basis. It is important for children to understand the dangers of fires, and to work with their family to devise a plan of escape. The NFPA website has many educational resources for schools including a fire prevention week banner, a coloring sheet, and a video series with Sparky the dog.

Check out the NFPA website where you will find fast facts about fires, a fire prevention week quiz, and can live chat with someone from the association to ask questions. Encourage your friends, family, and neighbors to take the quiz to test their knowledge on the danger of fires today. Ensure that the smoke alarms in your home function properly. If you do not have smoke alarms, install them as soon as possible.


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Mom saves choking daughter using technique she’d just learned in CPR class

“We could not have asked for a better outcome,” the sheriff said.

A Florida mom saved her 14-month-old daughter’s life thanks to the skills she learned during a CPR class hosted by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.

Back in January, the sheriff’s office hosted the class for family members of sheriff’s office employees.

Sarah Herrera, who’s father is a corporal, attended the class.

Recently, Herrera was feeding her daughter dinner when the child began choking on a piece of chicken.

Herrera said she immediately remembered a technique taught in her class. She placed her toddler’s stomach down and began hitting her back to dislodge the food. It worked! In a press release Tuesday afternoon, the sheriff’s office said Herrera reached out to HCSO to express her gratitude for the class.

We all hope to never be in a position where we must use CPR on a loved one or even a stranger, but I believe that having those life-saving skills, just in case, is essential. That is why I chose to offer CPR classes not only to employees of the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office but their families as well,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “This is a situation where knowing CPR and having the confidence to perform it saved the life of Ms. Herrera’s little girl. We could not have asked for a better outcome.”

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In Memory of Many, In Honor of All

Just Around The Corner – June is National Safety Month

Now, more than ever, safety is crucial both inside and outside the workplace, which is why the National Safety Council will still be recognizing National Safety Month® in June. Observed annually by NSC, the nation’s leading nonprofit safety advocate, National Safety Month focuses on saving lives and preventing injuries, from the workplace to any place.


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Weekly topics:

Week 1 – Prevent 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.

Week 2 – Address Ongoing COVID-19 Safety Concerns: As the pandemic continues, employers play an important role in the return to physical workspaces, building trust around vaccines, mental health and so much more.

Week 3 – It’s Vital to Feel Safe on the Job: Being able to be one’s self at work without fear of retaliation is necessary for an inclusive safety culture. Leading organizations focus not only on physical safety, but psychological safety as well.

Week 4 – Advance Your Safety Journey: Safety is all about continuous improvement. Whether organizationally or individually, NSC can help provide guidance for your path forward.


Stay tuned for our weekly topics coming in June.

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Quick-thinking Boston police officer uses CPR to revive infant who wasn’t breathing

Boston Police officer Owen Murray who performed lifesaving CPR on an infant girl in Roxbury Sunday night with assistance from officer Taylor Green.

Boston police officers Owen Murray and Taylor Green were heading back to the station Sunday night after a routine call. It had been a typical night so far.

Then, around 10:45 p.m., they got a call. An infant was in respiratory distress and wasn’t breathing at a home on Bragdon Street in Roxbury. The officers responded swiftly.

“On all the calls, you try to get there as fast as possible,” said Murray, a six-year officer. “But whenever I hear a kid’s involved, I try to get there even faster. I really wasn’t thinking.”

Once at the home, Murray and Green sprinted up to the second floor and came upon several family members who were screaming. The mother handed her 1-year-old daughter to Murray. The atmosphere was frantic, Green said.

The infant’s eyes and mouth were open, her skin pale. She wasn’t breathing; she was “lifeless,” Murray said. Instinctively, the officer put the girl in position and performed CPR, resuscitating her in moments and saving her life.

Boston police officer Taylor Green assisted officer Owen Murray, who performed lifesaving CPR on an infant girl in Roxbury Sunday night.

Boston police officer Taylor Green assisted officer Owen Murray, who performed lifesaving CPR on an infant girl in Roxbury Sunday night.MATTHEW J. LEE/GLOBE STAFF

“After a few seconds, the baby started crying,” Murray said. “She immediately gave me a hug and rested her head on my shoulder.”

“We’re just glad she’s OK,” Green said.

Soon after, the girl was brought to Boston Children’s Hospital for evaluation. Murray hasn’t heard from the infant’s mother or hospital yet, but he’s relieved. Without quick action, the outcome likely would have been much more grim.

It’s a feeling he knows well. Several years ago, his son, who was 1½ years old at the time, began choking on food. Murray performed CPR and saved his life.

My training definitely kicked in. I didn’t freak out or anything, it just kind of kicked in immediately,” Murray said of the eventful Monday night. “It definitely saved my son’s life as well.”

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Who Makes the Call on Safety Training?

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that the United States experienced 5,250 fatal workplace injuries in 2018. The year prior, preventable work injuries cost the U.S. economy $161.5 billion, according to an estimate from the National Safety Council. These statistics make clear the importance of safety for organizations and, therefore, safety training. The top benefit of safety training is reducing these tragic and costly incidents.

One essential question for any safety training program is who should do what. Who should be accountable for determining an organization’s safety needs? What about developing safety content or choosing supplier content? What about delivering safety training? Should the answers to these questions change for training that deals with different types of training?


For Safety Training: Protecting Employees and Organizations, there are four types of safety training.

  • Employee safety: related to the performance of jobs and the use of facilities and equipment
  • Workplace safety: related to emergencies in the workplace such as disasters or crime
  • Customer safety: related to the physical safety of customers
  • Digital and information safety: related to employee or customer data and cybersecurity.

Determining Safety Needs

Organizations were most likely to hold a dedicated safety department accountable for determining safety needs for all categories of safety other than digital and information safety (Table: Who Determines Safety Needs). They were most likely to entrust their IT departments by determining safety needs for digital and information safety. Legal, governance, risk management, or compliance departments were second-most likely to be accountable for determining safety needs for all categories of safety other than employee safety. HR departments were most likely to do so for employee safety.

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According to Errick Currie, a logistics transportation Manager for Domino’s who oversees safety for truck drivers that deliver supplies to the company’s stores in the United States and Canada, which department makes the final call on determining needs is of limited consequence. In an interview for the report, he said that “ensuring that every employee has a voice” about safety matters much more. “Every organization is different,” he explained, “but what’s important is that you put the onus on individuals to bring any issues forward.”

Developing or Selecting Safety Training Content

When it came to developing safety content or selecting it from suppliers, organizations again were most likely to turn to a dedicated safety department for all categories other than digital and information safety, which was most likely to fall to IT. However, talent development was the department second-most likely to oversee the development or selection of content. This was a notable difference from determining safety needs, for which talent development was least likely of any department to be responsible.

In his interview for the report, Currie saw some advantages of relying on talent development professionals to develop or select safety content—specifically, their knowledge of best practices in adult learning and familiarity with content tools. “They know all the different practices other companies use and the different tools that translate to the field,” he said.

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Delivering Safety Content

For employee safety, workplace safety, and customer safety, organizations most often relied on trainers from a dedicated safety department to deliver safety training, followed by a trainer from the talent development department. Digital and information safety training was equally likely to be delivered by a member of the IT department or with no instructor at all.

According to Currie, having a specialized professional, such as someone from the talent development or safety department, deliver an organization’s live, instructor-led safety training makes the content more credible. To explain the difference between having one of these individuals handle the delivery rather than a manager, he drew an analogy to parents cautioning their children. “As kids grow up, they often don’t take warnings from their parents very seriously,” he said. “When people get comfortable with their managers, the same thing can happen.” Meanwhile, he noted that bringing in a safety expert to deliver training, “shows that you’re willing to have another voice, another advocate, to come in to make the message resonate.”

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National Nurses Week: Freebies and discounts for health care workers May 6 -12