Scary scenario highlights the importance of CPR and first aid training

By Molly Bryant, Puyallup Tribal News

On Thursday, May 18, after the Puyallup Tribal Employee Appreciation event, a group of Tribal employees encountered a nightmarish scenario.

Eyewitnesses from the Tribal Housing Department and Children Services said they discovered a man unconscious on the street near their buildings on Portland Avenue. According to the witnesses, he was laying under a tree and had lost all color from his face and body. His friends were tapping on him to try to get a response.

One of the Tribal employees asked them if they had been using drugs, to which they responded, “Yes.” One of his suspected friends began administering CPR, while Tribal employees went to call 911 and find Narcan, a life-saving nasal spray that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose. Thankfully, Housing Director Joanne Gutierrez happened to carry Narcan in her bag. After retrieving the Narcan, the man’s friend administered two doses.

After conducting CPR and administering the Narcan, suddenly, to their surprise, the man regained consciousness and color. Augustine Canales, Child Welfare Caseworker, continued to check his vitals and rolled him onto his left side into the “recovery position,” so that he could breathe easier. It is the recommended position for people who are unconscious but breathing, while waiting for emergency services to arrive.

The witnesses say it all happened so fast. Remarkably, they all kicked into gear and did what they could to save this man’s life. They supported one another through the entire traumatic experience.

Kaylena Satiacum, Foster Homes Licensor, said, “Everyone just jumped into action. I just really admired everybody that was there who played a part.”

They also made sure to give credit to the man’s friends who helped save his life with CPR and by administering the Narcan.

“You hear so many stories where people are using together, and somebody ODs and leaves them. They didn’t do that,” Satiacum said. “They were scared, but they stood there and did the right thing.”

All of the witnesses had taken CPR and first aid training, as is required for their respective departments. It was apparent among the group that they were extremely thankful for their training.

“Having those trainings really helps, and it makes me appreciate the fact that we work for a community willing to invest in those types of trainings,” said Canales.

Some witnesses credit the Tribal Occupational Safety and Health Department (TOSH), for CPR and first aid AED classes which empowered them to know what to do in these kinds of scenarios.

Kim Turnipseed, director of TOSH, teaches the courses with her assistant Skip (Edmond) Laugharn. In addition to the CPR and first aid AED training, they teach two OSHA classes; one is 10 hours, and one is 30 hours.

Kim started the program in 2016 and initially found the need for tighter OSHA safety guidelines after a few near-death situations. She works with TERO (Tribal Employment Rights Office) employees to help create safety standards and implement proper OSHA training.

After COVID and wanting to do more for our people, Kim received training in CPR and first aid as well as Active Violence Emergency Response Training (AVERT).

Kim said, “Keeping people safe is what drives me, knowing and making sure everybody goes home happy, healthy and whole. That’s everything for me.”  

TOSH CPR/first aid training classes are available to all Puyallup Tribal members and employees, free of charge.