Ken White was in the right place, at the right time.
On March 15, the former Sidney fire fighter was having lunch in a local eatery when George Myren suffered cardiac arrest. That’s when White sprung into action.
He was trained in the use of CPR — cardio pulmonary resuscitation — and as a trained first-aider, he felt the obligation to act when someone near him was in distress.
Certainly, his experience as a fire fighter — and the fact that he has had to use those skills on more than one occasion — contributed to his willingness to jump in and help.
Yet not everyone is so willing to become a link in the lifesaving chain.
Getting trained in how to use CPR involves a mindset going into it, that you are determined to act responsibly when a neighbour, family member or co-worker is in medical distress. It’s not enough to take a course in first aid and how to use CPR effectively. You must be willing and able to be responsible enough to use those skills when the time comes.
First aiders are links in that lifesaving chain. In many situations, when someone is hurt, they will be the only ones there in the initial minutes of an emergency. Knowing CPR and first aid can give someone the extra time — the extra chance at survival — as they wait for paramedics to arrive.
It is said that CPR alone doesn’t necessarily have a high rate of directly saving lives — but it can improve the odds. And that’s probably what someone who has had an accident or a health scare wants — increased odds of survival.
George Myren feels he might not have survived his heart attack without the intervention of another person in the same restaurant. In many respects, the fact he was there — and the fact Ken White was also there — came down to chance. Had either person changed their minds about their lunch plans, the outcome might have been quite different.
Yet, if more people learned CPR, and if more AEDs (automatic external defibrillator) were available throughout the community, the odds of any of us surviving a medical emergency would go up.