An unassuming Saturday brought a lifesaving experience

May 28, 2009


It was an unassuming Saturday morning of normal tasks took over the life of Think Safe’er Dan Kinney and his wife Keeley as they shopped for next week’s groceries…

Keeley hurriedly interrupted his grocery shopping at the metro area’s largest discount membership store, bringing him to the scene of a first aid incident she witnessed firsthand, while snapping up one of the last bits of Brie at a samples stand. While giving out samples of Brie an employee collapsed from her roost and fell to the concrete floor, striking her head violently and becoming extremely disoriented.

Kneeling down to assist and assess the victim, it became apparent immediately to Keely that the situation was dire! Acting quickly she raced to the nearby meat counter and began ringing the bell repeatedly for help – finally an employee appeared. Keeley instructed him to call 911 and asked for the stores first aid assistance and to contact management and both hurried back to the victim.

Knowing that her husband, Dan, dealt with life saving products and techniques everyday in his profession at Think Safe; Keeley began to call for him two aisles over. Dan hurried over and immediately began to assess the situation. Dan asked the victim key questions… she was not diabetic and she was not on medications… She could not gather herself to get back on her feet so she was placed in the recovery position and Dan continued with the questions – had 911 been called?

Handing Keeley his own phone, she dialed as a store attendant walked up to the situation (finally), and realized that he should be the one to make the call. As the store’s manager and assistant manager appeared, Dan and Keeley simultaneously asked if the store had an AED. It was immediately obvious the store was not prepared to handle this type of emergency…

The cement floor was cold…but Dan knew to cover the victim with a blanket to help prevent shock. Maybe two minutes had passed. Another responder showed up; assisting in monitoring the victim – oddly enough it was not a store employee… Come to find out there were no store employees in this high public traffic and large occupancy facility that were trained in first aid or CPR. Dan and his lay-rescuer friend continued to assess the victim. The breathing was becoming shallow, her color was not good and they eventually lost a pulse, completely unresponsive.

There was no AED, no first aid kit, no responder kit, and no CPR barrier, but Dan stepped up and took charge. While his wife called out for store employees to grab a blanket, pillow, gloves and trash bags to be pulled off the shelves, Dan started CPR as she turned the color of blue-green you only see on Halloween night ghoul costumes. Checking the airway, looking for breathing one last time – then one, two, three, four, five – he knew all too well the pace and depth due to First Voice coaching…wow was he glad he worked where he did.

“Why isn’t anyone here trained!” he thought; how would he administer the breaths…and then, the gasp and vomiting and the rolling of the victim into the recovery position – this happening about 7 minutes into the emergency, and no EMS response yet. Timed out at 8 minutes EMS responders took over…finally. Dan got up and looked around – man, everyone was watching! – but he acted!

This reads like something out of a book, but that’s only because we chose to write it that way. This is real. Dan Kinney took action in an emergency event in which, much to his bewilderment, there was no one actually trained on staff at this massive corporate store. We have found out that the victim is recovering and undergoing tests at the moment.

In the moment of need and acting as a Good Samaritan you never know how you will react to the situation at hand. Dan went to our First Voice training on Monday and reviewed the steps he took to save that woman’s life, are realized he performed flawlessly.

No guilt, only pride for this employee – we at Think Safe are proud of you Dan!

Saved a woman's life with CPR

Dan Kinney: Saved a woman's life with CPR

Ask Dan if you think First Voice equipment works. He’ll tell you about his experience and thoughts…in his own words.

Step Up Through Your Fears

May 26, 2009

Fear is scary. Fear makes us freeze up. Fear makes us afraid to move, afraid to shout for help, unsure of what to do next. What are our fears? Many of our fears are imagined or made up.  Not having enough money, dying before we see our kids grow up, marry and grow old themselves. Or failing at our job, getting fired, not meeting your spouse’s expectations, afraid of hurting someone with the truth, bad timing, self-doubt, public speaking fears or maybe not being able to help your kids or friend when they truly need something.

Taking the risk to push through fear and conquer it takes courage and persistence. You can hire life coaches to get past personal fears or join Toastmasters if you have a public speaking fear, join a healthclub to stay fit and live longer, or just eat better. All of which take personal discipline and self coaching.

Fear is good in that if you take action on it – it will force necessary and valuable changes in your life. I am so proud of two employees we have at Think Safe as we have gone through some challenges in the past couple weeks.

One of our employees, Jen, saved the life of a very sick family member by volunteering to donate a kidney. She has young children and a busy life and had some fears of the process, but she stepped up and took action. There were many others in her family that could have done it but she stepped forward first. She went through the process, followed the steps and we are glad to see her getting back more strength every day.

The other employee also did something so remarkable last weekend.  Dan was the key person to respond to a medical emergency incident at a large superstore – and he ended up resuscitating the life of someone and bringing them back from the dead (heart attack).  Everyone else froze and the workplace should be embarrassed because they absolutely were not prepared – which resulted in fears and lack of action for the most part by employees and management. As a side note, the EMS took 8 minutes to arrive. Dan is the kind of guy that would have acted anyway, without all the knowledge he has from working at Think Safe and being around our First Voice products. But, I know he acted appropriately partly because of First Voice being part of his life.

It is amazing to see fear conquered and wonderful things happen. Our Think Safe workplace promotes defeating fear and I am proud that we have the kind of employees that take action. Our First Voice products provide value to others to do the same thing for those panic and fear-filled medical or first aid emergencies where it is about Making Minutes Matter.

Think Safe President, Paula Wickham

-Paula Wickham (pwickham [at] think-safe [dot] com)
Think Safe Inc President & CEO

Importance of AEDs

May 1, 2009


Today we have a guest post from A. Ersin Atay, M.D, a cardiologist from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, about the importance of  automated external defibrillators.

AED or Not?

What are cardiologists saying about AEDs?

The community needs more leaders to support and understand the importance of Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs).

Number of deaths associated with causes

There are no specific “rules” about if or where AEDs should be placed in the community.   Even school mandates regarding AED placement are spotty and minimal.  Being a cardiologist, I am keenly aware of the everyday impact of Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA), the nation’s largest killer, in our community.

In our practice, we see patients suffering from potentially fatal arrhythmias on a daily basis.  Those people who are identified early before a SCA are the lucky ones.  Unfortunately, half the people who have SCA did not know they had heart trouble until their cardiac arrest occurred.  Here is an example of Normal heart activity: Note the spike pattern with each beat of the heart.

Normal heart rate

What happens during Sudden Cardiac Arrest:
The heart enters a chaotic rhythm called ventricular fibrillation (VF) or possibly ventricular tachycardia (VT).  Both of these rhythms can be deadly if not corrected within a few short minutes. The spikes disappear and a rapid, “wavy” pattern occurs.

Heartbeat under cardiac arrest


The heart cannot pump blood effectively and the victim will collapse.


Victim is unconscious, not breathing spontaneously, has no pulse


Defibrillation to restore normal rhythm and CPR. The most essential part of this equation is the shock delivered by the defibrillator which actually stops the heart and allows it to restart with a normal rhythm.  To the right is an example of a defibrillation event which saved the life of a victim.

Education on SCA and the use of AEDs is important.  Survival rates above 75% have been achieved where automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) are readily available. Any victim’s family members or friends, coworkers and those who have faced a death from SCA would vote that there is no option.  I agree.

Does your child’s school have an AED?  Is there one at the gym you work out at?  What if someone with SCA collapsed at your workplace?

Talk to your employer,  principal or owner about AEDs – it could be the difference between life or death!

Wishing you a long and healthy life!