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Sept. 21, 2005

Safety conference to honor 47 with lifesaving and humanitarian awards

TUMWATER — Forty-seven people will be given lifesaving and humanitarian awards when the 54th annual Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Conference convenes in Tacoma next week. Their heroics aided individuals who suffered heart attacks, near-drownings, auto accidents and other perils.

The Sept. 28 and 29 safety and health conference will be at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center. More than 3,000 people are expected to participate in more than 70 events, including workshops, exhibitions and demonstrations, as well as a forklift rodeo, poletop-rescue competition and trade show. See www.LNI.wa.gov/Safety/TrainTools/GovConf/ for conference information. Registration begins onsite on Sept. 28 at 7 a.m. The cost is $140.

Gov. Christine Gregoire will present the lifesaving awards honoring individuals who use their first-aid training and hands-on actions to save someone’s life. They will also present humanitarian awards, which are given when lifesaving efforts were made but the victim did not survive or when actions or deeds prevented the loss of life by means other than hands-on actions. The awards are presented at the opening session beginning Wednesday at 9:30 a.m.

Here are the lifesaving awards, listed according to where the individuals work or live:

AuburnAnthony Pritchard Jr., an employee at John Harland Co., rushed to aid a pilot whose experimental plane had crashed. Pritchard and other bystanders extinguished a fire on the pilot’s clothing, assessed his injuries and removed him from the wreckage.

Bothell — A woman trying to elude police lost control of a stolen truck and slammed into a station wagon, injuring the other driver and ejecting that driver’s 3-year-old child, still in his car seat. Michael Gellatelli, a foreman for Pilchuck Contractors Inc., was at the scene, grabbed his first-aid kit and went to their assistance. Both had injuries, and the child was not breathing. He administered CPR to the child and treated their injuries until the ambulance arrived.

Castle RockTaylor Fielder and Diane Becker, employees of the Department of Natural Resources, were flagged down by a frantic and drenched young man who had been in a wreck. They saw a car upside down in a creek and a young girl badly injured. They called 911 and then made sure the girl was breathing, kept her stable and directed a Life Flight helicopter to the site.

CentraliaKelly Wilson, a Department of Social and Health Services employee at Maple Lane School, saw a security officer passed out on the ground. She called for others to dial 911, used the officer’s radio to call a “code blue” for on-campus help, assessed the man’s condition, cleared his airway and held him until help arrived.

Clallam Bay — When a Clallam Bay Corrections Center employee choked on a bite of steak, he was unable to speak or breathe. Stationary engineer Tom O’Sullivan recognized the symptoms and used his first-aid training to save the coworker’s life.

Everett — Boeing employees Bob Collinge, on his way to work, and Steven Bowman, on his way home from work, came upon an apartment engulfed in flames. They both stopped and rushed to help trapped tenants. The two joined with other bystanders to form a human pyramid so that two disabled women could climb to safety.

Everett — At lunch with a group of Boeing employees, Michelle McSpadden saw a coworker turning blue. She quickly rushed to his aid and successfully dislodged the food.

Lacey — Department of Corrections worker Rick Hagen performed the Heimlich maneuver on his wife’s grandmother when she choked during Christmas dinner.

Lakewood — At a job-site-safety assessment, John Korsmo Construction employee Randy Scott discovered a coworker lying on a pitched rooftop clutching his chest. Scott was able to safely get the man down a ladder to the ground and was preparing to do CPR when paramedics arrived and took over.

OlympiaBill Taylor, a customer service specialist for the Department of Natural Resources, came to the aid of a Home Depot employee who had suffered a seizure and fallen from a ladder. The man wasn’t breathing and was turning blue. Taylor applied chest compressions until the man regained consciousness and monitored his condition until medics arrived.

Orting — When a coworker’s backhoe went out of control and injured the operator, Terry Backstrom, a mechanic at the Orting Rock Quarry, was able to cut the power to the machine and then run for help. Technician Greg Flanders and office manager Mindi Rhodes heard the crash and ran to assist. They recognized arterial bleeding from the victim’s leg, took steps to control blood loss, and applied first-aid until a medical airlift arrived.

Puyallup — Comcast cable technicians Todd Hickam and Ryan Thornhill were working at an apartment complex when they heard a woman call for help to rescue a 10-year-old boy who was lying underwater in the deep end of a swimming pool. Hickam dove into the pool while Thornhill called 911. The boy had a pulse but wasn’t breathing. They performed CPR, got him breathing, and cared for him until medics arrived.

Seattle — Boeing Co. employee Lisa McTighe saw another employee turning blue and waving for help. She rushed to her aid and performed the Heimlich maneuver.

Seattle — Seattle City Light lineman Daniel Estep witnessed a horrifying wreck where a vehicle crossed the median and slammed into two vehicles. He and another onlooker ran to help. Children were screaming in one vehicle and as he ran to help, another vehicle burst into flames. The two men used rocks to break into the burning vehicle and were able to free the woman just moments before it burst into flames.

Seattle — A Seattle City Light overhead line crew had just finished replacing a power pole when their crew chief collapsed into his bucket while lowering it to the ground. They swung into action, rescued him from the bucket and prepared to begin CPR. Paramedics arrived and took him to the hospital. Thanks to Marty Long, Paul Tucker, Jay Hottell and Mario Gama, the victim survived.

Seattle — When a Seattle City Light employee was climbing down from the top of a de-energized breaker in the substation yard, his positioning belt caught, causing him to fall head first out of the belt toward the cement below. Rick Marino, the safety watchman below, saw the fall. He dove to the ground and caught his coworker’s head in his hands just before it would have hit the cement.

Sedro Woolley — A Department of Natural Resources crew was working in a remote park when two men on motorcycles sought aid for another rider who was having chest pains. Elyse Fleenor, Wyatt Leighton, Bruce Hanna, Joy Fleenor, Britany Fink and Steven Biggs came to the victim’s aid by calling 911, driving to meet the ambulance, keeping him warm, assessing his symptoms and treating him for shock until help arrived.

Sedro Woolley — When McKinstry Co. foreman Milton Jenkins came upon an upside-down car partially submerged in a swampy area, he waded in, pulled a toddler from the vehicle, and performed CPR until the toddler was breathing again.

SpokaneJoe Mangum, an employee at Catacombs Pub, heard a food server call for help. He went to the aid of a choking customer who was on the verge of blacking out. He used his high school first-aid training to successfully come to her aid.

Spokane — Avista Corp. employee Dick Reigel and a coworker had stopped for dinner when the coworker started choking. Reigel immediately rendered assistance and dislodged the blockage.

Steilacoom — McNeil Island Correction Center corrections officer Abraham “Komo” Komomua was approached by an inmate in distress from choking. The officer calmly and successfully performed the Heimlich maneuver.

Tacoma — Port of Tacoma employee David Williams saw his coworker choking in the employee lunchroom and performed the Heimlich maneuver to save his life.

TacomaRyan Bouffiou was driving his Meridian Center Electric work truck when a coworker began choking on his lunch. Bouffiou pulled the truck over and used his recent first-aid training to perform the Heimlich maneuver and save his coworker.

Tacoma — Tacoma firefighters responding to the scene of a house fire heard popping noises as they entered the smoke-filled home. Searching, they found a woman and an unconscious man. Unbeknownst to them, the woman had shot her boyfriend, doused the house with accelerants and then started the fire in an apparent murder/suicide attempt. As they attempted to rescue the woman, she struggled. When Damon Semingson saw her holding a gun to the back of another firefighter’s head, he wrestled the gun from her and restrained her until reinforcements arrived.

Tumwater — Labor & Industries employee Matt Pederson recognized that a coworker was choking and began to perform the Heimlich maneuver. Another coworker, Sue Reed, stepped in to help and together they successfully performed the maneuver.

Tumwater — In another incident at Labor & Industries, employee Sarah Smith saw that her coworker was having trouble breathing during lunch. She confirmed that the coworker needed help and performed the Heimlich maneuver.

Walla WallaTony Cruz, a Washington State Penitentiary employee, was cutting firewood with a neighbor when the neighbor went into full cardiac arrest. Cruz called for help and performed CPR until paramedics arrived and administered defibrillator shocks.

Wenatchee — Chelan County PUD wiremen Brad Peterson and Jim Graves were returning to Wenatchee after working at Stevens Pass when they came upon the scene of an accident where a car had hit a rock wall. Two women and a 3-year-old girl were injured. The men provided first aid, blankets, and reassurance for 45 minutes until an ambulance reached the rural location.

YelmStephen Sauceda and his coworker were unaware of the dangers they faced when working in the hazardous atmosphere of a holding tank. When his coworker was overcome by hydrogen sulfide and fell in face first unable to breathe, Sauceda entered the tank and pulled him to safety, risking his own life to save his coworker.

Here are the humanitarian awards:

Everett — Boeing employee Norberto Saucedo and his brother-in-law were traveling on I-5 when a van went out of control, crossed the median and came to rest near their car. The driver was screaming for her children. The men forced their way into the vehicle through jammed doors and broken windows and mangled seats to remove all the children and comfort them until medical help arrived to remove the four adults. All of the passengers survived the crash.

LaceyKimberly Hetzler, a registered nurse, was in her car at a drive-in restaurant when her car was hit from behind by a driver who had suffered a heart attack. She rushed to his aid, performed CPR and kept him alive until an ambulance could get him to the hospital. In spite of her efforts, he died later that day.

Seattle — Officer Merle Davis arrived at the University of Washington men’s locker room, where two doctors were performing CPR on a man who had suffered a heart attack. Davis used an automated external defibrillator to administer a shock and, together with the doctors, kept the man alive until paramedics arrived. Sadly, the man died five days later from injuries due to falling during the heart attack.

Radio broadcast version (:30)
Forty-seven people will receive lifesaving awards at the 54th Governor’s Industrial Safety and Health Conference in Tacoma next week. Their heroic actions aided individuals who suffered heart attacks, near drownings, auto accidents and other perils. Governor Christine Gregoire will open the conference and present the awards at the opening session beginning Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. The September 28 and 29 conference at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center features workshops and exhibitions on the latest in workplace safety and health. Registration begins onsite at 7 a.m. on September 28 and costs $140 per person. For more information, visit www.LNI.wa.gov.


For more media information: Elaine Fischer, 360-902-5413 or nele235@LNI.wa.gov.

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