Several years ago, one of my colleagues walked out of his office and collapsed on the floor in front of me. I had no idea what was wrong. Several people rushed to the scene, but all we could do was call 911 and wait for an ambulance to arrive. It was a terrible, helpless feeling. As it turned out, he had pneumonia.
Based on this—and a few other similar experiences—we created a “First Responders” program at our company about a year ago. We wanted to provide selected employees with the knowledge and skills necessary to act in an emergency situation. The role of our First Responders is “to sustain life, reduce pain, and minimize the consequences of an injury or sudden illness until more advanced medical help can arrive.”The First Responders receive 48 hours of company-paid training through the American Red Cross. We currently have twelve trained First Responders throughout the company. These include Brian Gronberg, Chad Dainty, Cindy Johnson, Debbie Eicholtz, Freddie Rivera, Geneva McGee, Janet Sanders, Keith Gibbons, Kristen Parrish, Lori Gliko, Paula Satterfield, and Toni Thompson.
The original group (Paula, Lori, Debbie, and Geneva) were trained and certified three years ago. The additional eight were trained within the last year.
As the company’s CEO, I am deeply grateful for our First Responders. They are not receiving additional compensation. They are simply doing this out of their commitment to the company, their love for their fellow-employees, and their interest in this field. Frankly, I rest much better knowing that we have trained people ready and available should an emergency occur.