By SAMANTHA PAK
Redmond Reporter Reporter
As a firefighter with the Redmond Fire Department, Mike Hilley is trained to respond to emergency situations and give medical help to anyone who may need it.
But even as a first responder, factors such as traffic and limited-access roadways may prevent him and his colleagues from arriving on the scene as quickly as needed. An individual needing medical attention may not have those extra few minutes.
Because the initial minutes after an incident such as cardiac arrest are crucial, Hilley is part of a community outreach program with Redmond Fire and Medic One dedicated to training people in hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
“We all have to look out for each other,” he said.
One way Hilley has been helping people do this is providing hands-only CPR training sessions in local neighborhoods, businesses, apartment buildings and other groups. He said they focus on hands-only because this helps keep the heart beating and that the breathing portion of CPR can be difficult to perform correctly.
“Even trained rescuers have trouble with mouth-to-mounth,” he said.
On Thursday Hilley and Janeen Olson were atTent City 4, a homeless community currently located at St. Jude Parish in Redmond, to teach residents the hands-only CPR method. Olson is a volunteer with Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA), which is part of AmeriCorps and focuses on providing services for those in poverty.
“We try to hit communities…that can help themselves,” Hilley said.
He said Tent City is one such community because residents are together the majority of the time, move from location to location together and as a result look after one another.
On Thursday, Ace Powers was among about a dozen Tent City residents who attended Hilley and Olson’s training session. He said within his community, 911 calls are not uncommon so having a few residents with CPR training could only be beneficial.
“I thought it was really important to have (the training),” he said.
The training consisted of a 10-minute video and practicing CPR on inflatable dolls provided by Medic One. While practicing, Hilley, Olson and two assistants circulated among the group to answer questions and correct technique. Afterwards, Hilley answered medical questions about various topics ranging from diabetes and seizures to heat stroke and heat exhaustion.
A number of residents also show an interest in receiving first aid training and becoming certified. Hilley told them this training would take five or six hours. In response, Powers, who is in a leadership position in Tent City, said it would be nice to consolidate and hold a multi-community training session with people from Tent City 3 and possibly some of the indoor shelters within Seattle Housing and Resource Effort/Women’s Housing, Equality and Enhancement League (SHARE/WHEEL), the organization that oversees Tent City.
Hilley said if the residents were interested in that, he could help make the training session happen. But for the evening, he focused on CPR because the training was simple and easy to remember and perform.
“It’s about the CPR,” Hilley said. “It’s about what you can do.”
Redmond Reporter Reporter Samantha Pak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 425-867-0353, ext. 5052.