Eight Pueblo Chemical Agent-Destruction Pilot Plant (PCAPP) employees and one U.S. Army Pueblo Chemical Depot paramedic, whose quick thinking saved the life of a fellow worker, were recognized by the American Red Cross as Hometown Heroes Feb. 17.
“I think everybody who helped is a Hometown Hero,” said Rick Holmes, Bechtel Pueblo Team project manager. “Not only did they get engaged immediately, but the way they provided care is part of what we do at the site; we take care of each other.”
On Feb. 9, 2015, Dennis O’Hanlon was walking to the PCAPP parking lot with colleague Wendell Savage when O’Hanlon began having trouble walking and later collapsed. Tom Hassing, a control room operator and former emergency medical technician, who was nearby, recognized O’Hanlon’s symptoms and began cardio pulmonary resuscitation (CPR). On-site paramedics were called and arrived with an automated external defibrillator (AED). Defibrillation was performed and CPR was continued on the way to a local hospital.
“Early recognition, early CPR and early use of an AED are critical to life saving efforts,” said Bill Fortune, communications specialist for the American Red Cross Colorado and Wyoming Region.
In addition to Hassing and Savage, Bob Choice, Kyle Hughes, Brian Jackson, Mike Whitmore, Wade Willis, Kurt Thompson and Joe Reno are credited for saving O’Hanlon’s life.
“We have an on-site medical clinic and our paramedics rendered immediate aid,” said Holmes. “We have a number of people who are trained and certified in American Red Cross CPR. By having had that training, it saved Dennis’ life.”
“What made the difference is that people were there at that moment to get CPR started and notify medical,” said Whitmore, a paramedic with the PCAPP Medical Clinic. “No one hesitated. They assessed the situation and initiated CPR.”
“The one thing we know is that CPR saves lives,” said Fortune. “The key is being willing to do it—stepping up and helping someone in need.”