Safety Training Thursday – Emergency at Midway Airport: A CPR Story

An item on today reminded me of the importance of CPR training and of an event that took place five years ago at Midway Airport in Chicago.

I was waiting near security for my wife and daughter to come back from a trip to California, it was a typical day at the airport – a lot of people coming and going - when I noticed a commotion about 80 yards away. It looked like someone had fallen, but there seemed to be a lot of people around so I did not rush over (as is my usual response). I kept an eye on the scene for about 30-40 seconds; it looked like the person was still on the ground which was odd, and I saw a guy quickly taking off his jacket. I decided to walk over and see what was happening. When I got closer, I saw a man spread eagle on the floor with a ring of 10-15 people standing around, including airport security. No one was interacting with the man on the floor. I looked at the people and asked, “Has anyone checked his breathing or for a pulse?” There was no response. I quickly dropped down and determined the man was not breathing and had no pulse. I instructed a person in the crowd to call 911 and prepared to perform CPR by tilting the head and sweeping the mouth. At this point, a flight attendant stepped through the circle and joined me saying, “I’ll do the compressions, you do the breaths.” We began and a minute later another person joined the circle with an automated external defibrillator (AED). The new guy identified himself as a paramedic from the Seattle; I saw then that he was the same person I saw earlier taking off his jacket. The three of us worked on the victim for many minutes (seemed like hours) until the Chicago Fire Department (CFD) arrived. (Midway does not have it's own rescue crew on its premises). Though the man never regained consciousness during the event, we were able to revive his heart rhythm and, upon arrival, the CFD paramedics quickly took control and stabilized the man. Unfortunately, HIPAA laws being what they are, I was never able to follow up and see how things turned out for the man. What I can say is that the event evolved my thinking about CPR and the responsibility we all have to look out for each other. You might think having a heart attack in Midway Airport would be an ideal place; however, if you saw the look of panic and bewilderment on the faces of the people standing in the circle as well as the hundreds of people passing by without stopping – you might change your mind. Now look around your workplace – if one of your co-workers goes down, can you help? If you go down, who’s going to help you? This week’s featured training is First Aid & CPR Principles and Procedures.

Course Coverage
First Aid & CPR Principles and Procedures covers basic First Aid and CPR practices including the appropriate responses to emergency situations such as bleeding, shock, burns, eye injuries, heart attack, fractures, exposure to chemicals, etc. (Note: Hands-on training by a qualified trainer is required for CPR or first aid certification).

Training Options
Call 1.888.362.2007, or visit Workplace Safety Training for information about our on-demand training offering, including a list of available courses. If you’re interested in an option that does not require all employees to be present at the same time, you can take a pass on a classroom style format and consider an online solution.