December 2017

Safety training

saves a life

by Karl Neddenien

Lewis Reynolds and his family have many things to be thankful for this holiday season, but foremost among them is the safety training provided to Dominion Energy Cove Point employees. That’s why Lewis is alive today.


“When I woke up in the emergency room, the nurse told me that I was one of the lucky 5 percent who survive this kind of medical event,” says Lewis, lead instrument technician at the Dominion Energy Cove Point LNG terminal in Lusby, Md. “I survived because it happened at work, where trained people with the right equipment were on hand to resuscitate me.”


Lewis was performing a safety observation on a Friday morning, carefully watching senior LNG technicians Tim Castle and Jim Fratz perform a preventive maintenance activity and ensuring that the proper precautions and actions were being taken. Suddenly, he blacked out. He awoke in the emergency room at a hospital 15 miles away.


“Lewis just fell over onto me and slid to the ground,” Tim says. “His breathing was ragged and troubled, then it stopped. He had no pulse.”


Heart arrhythmia, a congenital condition, had caused the blackout.


Tim radioed for help and requested an Automated External Defibrillator, or AED, be brought to them. He and Jim placed Lewis in a comfortable position and began performing CPR. LNG Technician Richard Lara heard Tim’s call for assistance. Richard knew exactly where Tim was working since he had approved the work permit.


“I grabbed a nearby defibrillator and started running,” Richard says. “When I was close, I saw someone lying on the ground and two people performing CPR. I opened the AED while I was still running and had it ready to use when I got to them.”


The three of them got Lewis breathing again and his heart beating.  He was transported to the hospital and released five days later. His colleagues had saved his life. They credit their safety training for making that possible.


Lewis has fully recovered. Knowing about his condition will enable him to take precautions and stay safe.


In a remarkably fortunate coincidence, Tim had completed first-aid refresher training just a few days earlier. “When this event happened, the training kicked in, and I did what was necessary,” he says. “I am very thankful that we were able to do what we did. I will never take training for granted again.”


“Paying attention to all the training we receive is most beneficial to everyone around us at work, and could save family members’ lives away from work as well,” Jim echoes. “I really appreciate the fact that Dominion Energy offers us this training and equipment.”


“I learned that when you have to react to a situation, calm down and do what you’re trained to do,” Richard says. “Pay attention to training. It could save a life.”


“This is an excellent reminder that we are investing the time and resources in our training program for all the right reasons,” says Mike Frederick, vice president–LNG Operations. “By actively participating in training and practicing the skills that are taught, our colleagues changed the potential outcome of this event.”