One of the most satisfying parts of my role as Editor in Chief of Security magazine is the opportunity to share stories with you.

I was contacted by George Frandsen, CPP, Sr. Director for Safety & Security for GuideWell in Jacksonville, Fla., who shared with me the story of GuideWell Senior System Security Analyst Doug Lashley, who recently saved a life while on vacation in Cancun, Mexico. Lashley was swimming in a man-made cave, when he saw a man zip line into the water and then stay underneath longer than usual. It became clear that he could not swim and that he was drowning. “Working together, my group was able to get him to dry land. He was not breathing, so I performed the hands-only CPR that I learned at one of the on-site trainings from work,” he says.

Serving as a safety committee member, Lashley attended one of the GuideWell Hands Only CPR trainings, established and led by Bob Dooley, GuideWell’s Occupational Safety & Health Program manager.

 “Being a safety committee member, I wanted to know how to do CPR,” Lashley shares. “I wanted to know how to handle the situation and remain calm when dealing with people who are disgruntled or upset. The CPR training taught me how to do that. We were taught compressions to the song ‘Staying Alive.’ I used that and was able to perform three sets of compressions on the gentleman, and taught someone else how to do compressions so that I could rest. You truly do not know how tiring it can be to perform CPR until you’re doing it. After the fifth compression, the gentleman started breathing again and he was rushed to the hospital.”

The GuideWell training is a 75-minute class, which covers both an instructional and hands-on part to fully equip participants for a cardiac emergency situation. “The Hands-Only CPR program began with a phone call from University of Florida Health in mid-2014,” says Frandsen. “Since then, more than 1,400 GuideWell employees have received training. In the last two years, CPR has been used three times by GuideWell employees to revive a person in need. Knowing that our employees are able to take something they learned from us and apply it to life-saving situations is truly a rewarding experience.”

“Take the training when it is offered at your office,” adds Lashley. “Not only could you potentially help someone in need, but also loved ones.”

According to Dooley, sudden cardiac arrest, when it occurs outside of a hospital environment, often takes place in the home. When bystander CPR is available and administered, nearly 45 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims survive.

Dooley cites how some areas of the U.S. are experiencing increased rates of survival after Hands-Only CPR programs are put into place. The University of Arizona Sarver Heart Center Resuscitation Research Group, for example, first advocated chest-compression-only CPR in Tucson in 2003. As part of the Save Hearts in Arizona Registry and Education (SHARE) program, a statewide effort was launched in Arizona in 2004. The data collected in an University of Arizona study showed that survival rates for patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest are better when bystanders do Hands-Only CPR, compared with CPR that calls for chest compressions interrupted by mouth-to-mouth rescue breaths. The University of Arizona study also found a greater percentage of cardiac arrest victims survived in the chest-compression-only CPR group (13.3 percent) compared to those in the conventional CPR group (7.8 percent).

A 2014 article published by the Arizona Department of Health Services illuminated the fact that the survival rate for sudden cardiac arrest in Arizona had increased by 300 percent in the previous 10 years.

This change in survival rate has much to do with the fact that more people are willing to perform Hands-Only CPR as compared to traditional CPR. Moreover, 911 operators can often more easily instruct someone on how to perform Hands-Only CPR versus traditional CPR, Dooley notes.

Congratulations and a round of applause to GuideWell’s Safety and Security Department, Bob Dooley, and Doug Lashley — well done!!