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A Portage woman is a life saver and now she has been honored.


PORTAGE (WKZO) -- Laura Williamson was honored last night for her lifesaving skills in applying CPR to a co-worker who suffered a cardiac arrest during the night shift at Meijer last March.

Williamson says everyone should get CPR training. You may never use it, but it can save a life.

County EMS Director Bill Fales says citizen intervention in applying CPR can greatly increase a heart attack victim’s chances of survival.

He says every minute of delay reduces the chance of survival by 10%. To get the best outcome for the victim, to return them to their normal lives with all their faculties intact, it takes a series of things to go right.

That starts with a call to 9-1-1 and an ordinary citizen stepping up, setting aside their concerns about viruses and liability and going to work delivering manual resuscitation.

That means the breath of life and chest compressions until first responders arrive and can take over.He says they have dispatchers who are trained to talk a person through the process.

First responders could be Police Officers or Firefighters. They will likely have additional equipment like defibrillators. Then the EMT’s take over and can begin administering drugs, taking vital measurements and linking with the hospital, preparing for what ever procedures will be needed to once they are transported to the Emergency Room.

All the time through this process, the CPR begun by that citizen hero continues. 

Dr. Fales calls it the “chain of survival”, and he says the most important person in that chain is the ordnary citizen, the bystander, friend, relative or coworker.

He or she will have the most profound impact on whether or not that person survives. Dr. Fales says in Kalamazoo, 70% of the people who get that immediate CPR survive.

If they have to wait for first responders, their chances drop to 30%. If they suffer a severe cardiac arrest alone, with no help, the death rate is 100%. 

Dr. Fales says the sad fact is that in 3 out of 4 cases victims who could benefit from CPR from a friend or family member or coworker do not get it because people are reluctant to get involved or panic, worried about liability or about communicable diseases.

Laura Williamson didn’t worry about any of that and her co-worker is alive and well today because she remembered her CPR training and applied it.   The Portage City Council approved a city resolution honoring her heroic act at this week’s regular meeting.