An Unexpected Surprise

June 4, 2013

In April 2012, Tracy Hjelle’s world turned upside down. The 42 year old coaches women’s softball for Luther college. One morning, the team was boarding a bus to head to Wisconsin when Tracy unexpectedly fell to the ground. Head Trainer Kris Agena, catcher Kelsey Kittleson, and outfielder Shari Huber, were quick to perform CPR. A nearby AED at the college was brought over and recovered Tracy’s heart back to a normal rhythm. Tracy miraculously survived and became diagnosed with spontaneous coronary artery dissection (SCAD).

Tracy Hjelle with her husband John

Tracy is a lucky survivor because she got the help she needed within minutes. The three women who performed CPR right away, increased Tracy’s chances of surviving immensely. Having the AED on campus gave Tracy the help she needed before waiting crucial minutes for Emergency Responders to arrive.

Imagine getting the news that one of your family members suffered from SCAD or sudden cardiac arrest. Think Safe’s very own President and CEO, Paula Wickham, is actually Tracy Hjelle’s cousin. Tracy is living proof that a sudden heart attack can happen to anyone!

Tracy’s story proves that people should be educated and trained in CPR. Along with that, making sure AEDs are located in public venues. People must be prepared because when an unexpected surprise like Tracy’s occurs, they need to be ready.

For more of the story click here.

Contact Think Safe today for information on CPR/First Aid Training, AEDs, and supplies! Complete the following form or call 888-473-1777!


May 29, 2013

It’s that time again! It is National AED/CPR Awareness Week. Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA) is the nation’s largest killer and can happen to anyone. It kills more people annually than AIDS, breast cancer and strokes. Over 300,000 people die annually from SCA and approximately 95% of these victims never reach a hospital in time.  Just how prepared are you in case of an emergency?

How can you tell if someone is having a heart attack? When sudden cardiac arrest occurs, the victim collapses, becomes unresponsive to gentle shaking, stops normal breathing and after two rescue breaths, still isn’t breathing normally, coughing or moving.

How can you or your organization be more prepared?

  • Learn CPR! By immediately giving CPR to a cardiac arrest victim, you can double their chance of survival. The logic is simple; the more number of people who learn how to perform CPR, the more lives can be saved.  There are plenty of ways to learn CPR, including online or instructor led (and blended courses).
  •  Purchasing an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is the best life insurance policy anyone can buy, increasing survival rates from 10% to over 60% — IF an AED is used within the first 2-4 minutes after a victim suffers from SCA and collapses. Contact Think Safe for a distributor nearest you and for pricing on these devices that can be bought for around $1,000-$1,500.

You may think this won’t happen to anyone you know or yourself, but think again. SCA is the leading cause of death in the United States. It could happen to any one of us, no matter what age, race, or gender. It does not discriminate!

Even President and CEO of Think Safe, Paula Wickham, has been hit close to home. Her cousin, (in her late 30’s) Tracy Hjelle- College Softball Coach, suffered a coronary artery dissection in the summer of 2012 while boarding a bus for a Luther College softball game. Luther Head Trainer Kris Agena, catcher Kelsey Kittleson, and outfielder Shari Huber, were quick to perform CPR. With the help of an AED, Tracy’s life was saved!  Find out more about this young woman’s story…

You don’t really notice how significant the reality of these statistics is until it affects your personal life. It starts putting things into perspective to be prepared and get informed. Don’t become educated or take action after it is too late!

In honor of National AED/CPR Awareness week, Think Safe is offering free customized online AED Training Access to those who email or call and reference the CPR/AED Week Promo code:  AED4ME.  Hurry, the offer is for a limited time only.

To take advantage of this special offer and find out more about AED programs or CPR and AED training,  contact Think Safe at 888-473-1777 or complete the following form. We are here to help!

20 Year Reunion with First Person Saved by AED in Wisconsin!

June 12, 2010

Has it been that long?…..

[AEDs have been on the market about 20 years! Their prices have gone from $5,000 to $1,200-$1,500.  Their weight and size has been cut in half at least.  Yet, there is one commonality – they are still lifesaving equipment!]

Twenty years ago Wednesday, Waukesha Wisconsin firefighters Todd Laurent and Jeff Schulz saved Chuck Krebs’ life, using what was a brand new defibrillator at the time.  Chuck and his wife Jackie spent Wednesday evening thanking the men who saved him.

Chuck is the first person in Wisconsin saved by a defibrillator!  He had a heart attack and collapsed while at work inside his garage in Waukesha.  He was pronounced dead, but the firefighters arrived promptly and used the defibrillator to bring Chuck back to life.  Chuck returned to a normal life thanks to his heroes.  To read more:


For more information, contact one of our AED experts at 888-473-1777 or complete the following form and we will be happy to get in touch with you!

Family talents lead to a fun weekend!

September 11, 2009

My husband’s cousin Carol Wickham was one of the individuals among the Woodstock masses 40 years ago. In honor of the historical cultural event in New York her son, Aaron Wickham, threw an honorary historical event for the family band – Genevieve’s New Hip – in Allison, Iowa on Saturday, August 29, 2009. It will live in infamy as band members came from the Northwest, Southwest and Midwest United States to satisfy the entertainment starved masses that gathered and intensified into the evening. Wickstock 2009!

It started with kids playing some rock together as cousins (I believe the band originally was called The Wickstock 2009Rave) – yet years later they can gather and kick out great tunes and have this unspoken common ground. Now grown with adult lives and different professions such as teacher, government employee, school counselor, accountant, US soldier, restaurant manager – they came together to create something that cohesively bonded their audience, their families, and themselves. The last time they played together was about a year ago at Uncle Jay’s funeral, our Purple Heart WWII family hero. And, played very well they did despite it being with a kids drum set, an old acoustic guitar some family member dusted off from the basement, and a local pawn shop guitar purchase the day before the funeral. It was a brilliant tribute to Uncle Jay’s presence on this earth and what he left behind. The time before that was 10 years or maybe a bit prior! The morning after Wickstock 2009 we sat around drinking coffee and chatting about life, I asked the drummer how long since he had played. You guessed it – at Uncle Jay’s funeral. This is amazing to me…he said it was likeWickstock 2009riding a bike. However, what he did not say is that I bet it took lots of earmuffs by his mother and effort during the years of practice to get him to that level.

I believe each individual human has God-given talents and be it sports, writing, competitive strategy, people skills, musical or singing, or interpretive dance talents –  how with just a little hard work or application these talents can be tapped into time and again during a lifetime of building relationships and family bonds. The beauty of talents is truly achieved when we are able to and decide to put those talents to use for the enjoyment and betterment of society or family. Isn’t this really what life is about?

Leave your thoughts below!

Think Safe President/CEO, Paula Wickham

Think Safe President/CEO, Paula Wickham

Accomplishing the climb of a lifetime.

August 3, 2009

I have a really cool story on accomplishments. I love this topic.

I have been reflecting a bit on life and its journey, and I happened to be thinking about my in-laws. The pair are amazing, rarely pausing a moment as they bound back and forth from Florida (winter/spring) to Iowa (summer/fall) and all the while staying active with tennis and attending the numerous family and community events that are the result of having eight offspring and successful educator careers. My mother-in-law is going through painful double knee replacement recovery but has been a tremendous pillar through it. Despite the pain she somehow manages to worry and think about others. Two weeks before the surgery she was traveling to the Portland Coast for a large family reunion and not complaining one bit about the pain she was in with those worn-out knees.

Tom Wickham holding the US Open trophy

My father-in-law, during that same trip, climbed Mount St. Helens – two days before he turned 70 years old! That is an elevation of 8,365 feet (2,550 m) and he climbed it in one day with his son and grandson. Three generations climbing together, and none of them “mountaineers” – but all of them adventure seekers. According to his grandson (my nephew Blaine), when they checked the records of those whom had climbed to the peak, the next closest in age was 65. That is quite an accomplishment. The real accomplishment is that he climbed it in tennis shoes and hadn’t decided to climb it until the day before. He did not prepare, he did not dwell on it – he just did it.

“It has long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sit back and let things happen to them. They go out and happen to things.” source

Congratulations Tom on this accomplishment – if you ever wonder how you got such a good stack of kids just look at your wife and look in the mirror!

Think Safe President, Paula Wickham