EDWARDS AFB – For four heavy equipment operators with the 412th Civil Engineer Group, March 13 was simply supposed to be another early morning day on the flightline. For another operator, it was the day he almost lost his life if not for the actions of his four co-workers.
“We were all at our work and [dispatch] area getting ready for our shift when I noticed the other [flightline] sweeper crash into another vehicle. We ran up to the sweeper and noticed the driver was bent over the steering wheel. When we opened the door to the sweeper, we noticed that he was slumped over and unresponsive,” said Robin “Bubba” Hairston. “After putting the sweeper in park, Derrick Shannon pulled him out of the vehicle and we laid him on the ground. I took his vital signs and he had no heartbeat and he was not breathing.”
According to the four operators, it was at this moment where the situation unfolded and became an hour that required quick-thinking and fast-acting responses in order to save their co-worker.
“With him being unresponsive and having no vital signs, I decided that emergency responders needed to be called and that CPR was needed,” said Neil Edwards. “I got on my phone and dialed the first responders and stayed on the line with them until they arrived on scene.”
While Neil was on the line with first responders, Derrick checked his co-worker’s airway and kept his airway open while keeping his head and neck straight, according to the four operators.
“Bubba started giving chest compressions to the victim until the victim took a breath. Even though the victim took one breath he did not take a second breath, so Bubba resumed chest compressions until he started feeling fatigued,” Shannon said. “To relieve Bubba, Moses Zamora began giving chest compressions. Throughout the course of the incident, Bubba and Moses relayed back and forth on giving chest compressions. This continued until emergency medical services arrived and relieved us of our duties.”
After EMS arrived, the team stood by worried as their workmate was transported to the hospital while being aided by EMS personnel. After EMS transported their co-worker to the hospital, Hairston said that EMS personnel informed him that if they would not have been there, their co-worker may not have made it through because he needed immediate CPR.
“After hearing of this event, CE and base leadership, CE personnel and the base populace are all proud of how well coordinated the individuals were at effectively responding and applying CPR to a peer co-worker which resulted in saving his life. I’m proud of how this team took CPR training seriously,” added Tim Herbert, 412th CES Heavy Repair Branch chief. “It shows that the skills gained in this mandatory training course can truly save the life of a friend, family member or co-worker.”
“We are simply thankful that it occurred while we were all there and were able to give assistance,” added Zamora. “As we look back on the situation the outcome could have been much worse. If it happened thirty minutes later, he could have been on the flightline.”
According to Herbert, the operator who was unresponsive is alive and well, and is currently at home getting some much needed rest after being released from the hospital.