Investing in the Health and Safety of Employees at KING  

By Diane Toomey

Edited by Nancy Waddell, photo by Kayako Sareen

Emergency planning is something the staff at  Seattle television station KING 5 recently decided they should get serious about. Reporting on emergency situations is one thing, but recognizing and reacting to them is another story altogether. After a quick tally of both threats and motivating factors (living in an earthquake zone, around the clock awareness of natural disasters across the globe, and the realization that medical emergencies can happen anywhere), “The Home Team” jumped into action.   

First up, addressing the lack of CPR/First Aid trained employees on-site. A number of staff members recently witnessed a co-worker choking on a piece of candy; many felt helpless, not knowing what to do. Thankfully that co-worker survived an all-too-common situation and is now inspiring others to seek out training.

Jim Rose, President & General Manager of KING 5, is on the board of the King County Red Cross, which is well known for its training classes in First Aid, CPR and Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs). KING scheduled and hosted onsite classroom training through the American Red Cross.

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KING 5 Evening News Anchor, Lori Matsukawa is one of 10 staff members who participated in the training.  She says the drive to participate was different for everyone. Part of her inspiration was the memory of an incident on a small cruise ship, where a cardiac event led to a guest’s death. CPR was given too late while trying to locate a doctor, and there was no AED onboard.

It had been about 10 years since Brian Westbrook, KING 5 Tech Reporter, had taken a CPR/First Aid training class. He too had been around medical incidents on ships, planes and in other remote locations, and wanted his skills to be up to date.

Participants felt empowered by the training, praised their instructor, and were thankful for the opportunity to bond with colleagues.

“It was a well-taught, informative class and while I hope I never had to use these skills, I’m confident I’ll be ready should the need arise. The favorite part of class was partnering with a colleague and learning to use the AED while administering CPR. I absolutely know it can save lives!”  Lori Matsukawa, KING 5

The Red Cross offers CPR training and certification programs near you: http://www.redcross.org/ux/take-a-class

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