An Olympia woman who spends most days helping other people save lives was thrust into the role of first responder last weekend. It's a lesson in the importance of knowing CPR and how to operate an automatic external defibrillator (AED).
“You’re panicked. You're shaking all over, and someone's life is on the line right there,” said Helen Kramer, an executive assistant for the Washington State Council of Firefighters.
Kramer was volunteering at the Olympia Pie Fest on Saturday when a woman collapsed and stopped breathing.
Kramer, who has done CPR and defibrillator training, rushed over and with the help of a nurse and others on-scene, gave the woman CPR. Then they used the AED to shock the patient to get her heart beating again.
“All of a sudden she (gasped), and a huge breath came in, and she started to move her hand a bit,” Kramer said.
Paramedics arrived within minutes, and by then the woman was conscious and talking.