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Preparedness kicks in when bank employee needed it most

A combination of a friend and co-worker certified in CPR, calm collegues, an Automated External Defibrillator (AED)and San Juan Emergency Medical Services equaled a good outcome for an Islanders Bank employee Tuesday, June 19, 2012.

"They did everything perfectly," said San Juan EMS Education and Prevention Director Lainey Volk.

One employee spotted the victim slumped at his desk and alerted Tony Fyrqvist who is certified in first aid. With three other co-workers working with him as a team - Cindy Mullis, Carrie Brooks and Lori Brown who usually works in Orcas - Fyrqvist began CPR. Someone fetched the AED and it was engaged. Another person called 911.

Just as EMS arrived, the AED indicated a shock was called for. Before the bank workers needed to press the green button. Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) took over.

The emergency treatment including a shock was successful and the victim was flown to a mainland hospital.

"EMS was fast and professional," said Fyrqvist. He couldn't say enough about the high quality of care and skill EMS provides.

Volk was equally effusive in her praise of the bank employees and the bank administration. "They have AEDs in both buildings," she said. "They hold regular safety meetings." Volk has demonstrated how to use the AED and given CPR and First Aid classes for bank employees.

Fyrqvist praised EMS for their willingness to work with businesses. "It is a great, well run organization," he said.

Volk gives two types of CPR and First Aid classes. Informational ones are free. Classes which result in certification cost $25.

In addition to regular classes EMS organizes, Volk provides either type of class for a group of five people or more. Contact her at 360.378.5152 x 3 or email prevention@sanjuanems.org.

AEDs assess the victim, give instructions for CPR (even counting out the beats for compression) and clearly indicates if a shock is needed. The shock is administered by pressing a clearly labeled button. The bag with the device comes with scissors to cut clothes, a razor to shave a chest if necessary, and a device to provide protection while breathing into someone's mouth.

Fyrqvist agrees with Volk's recommendation islanders take the training.  He said it "was automatic" when the situation called for it.

While the victim recovers in the hospital. Fyrqvist has a new perspective. "It takes you back a bit and  appreciate everyday you have."  

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