Linemen Save Life

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Perhaps it was fate or Divine Providence that brought I&M line mechanics Tim Miller and Bryan Singer together with Dave Wray, a utilities locator, on a cold February morning.

But credit training, commitment to safety, flawless performance and brotherhood for what happened next.

After discussing the underground line job they were preparing to do, the line mechanics went to gather tools, while Wray set out to locate the underground lines. When Miller emerged from around a house, he saw Wray lying face down in two feet of snow. Miller ran to Wray. “I flipped him over,” Tim remembers. “He was totally lifeless.”

Just two weeks after completing a CPR refresher class, Miller put the training to work, yelling to Singer to call 911, then immediately starting chest compressions.

Tim Miller (left) and Bryan Singer successfully performed CPR on utilities locator Dave Wray while on the job in February. 

Just days earlier, a medic teaching the CPR class warned that when someone trained in the lifesaving maneuver begins compressions, the sound of cartilage and bones can seem frightening. “It’s everything they said it is,” Miller said. Fortunately, because of the training, he knew to continue.

Miller and Singer performed their life-saving roles outdoors in the midst of the worst winter many can remember, encased in cold air and surrounded by piles of snow. “I had to prop my right foot under his head,” Miller said, “because as I pressed on him, he was pressing down into the snow.”

Miller was counting in his head, and he reached 60 before Wray first gasped for air.

Singer, a 15-year I&M veteran, forwarded instructions from the 911 dispatcher and relayed back what was happening on the scene, noting every time Wray gasped for air. Miller continued to perform CPR for 8 minutes and 18 seconds between Singer’s call and the arrival of medics and firefighters. “Millions of thoughts went through my head,” Miller said.

When medics and firefighters arrived, they started cardiac defibrillation, and Wray began to come around.

“The two most important things to occur when someone is in cardiac arrest is immediate CPR and defibrillation,” said Gary Booher, executive director of the Three Rivers Ambulance Authority. “Your guys couldn’t have started CPR any quicker.”

“There’s no question in my mind, they saved his life,” Booher said.

This week, Wray said he is progressing well.

For Miller and Singer, their teamwork saved the life of a person, someone with whom they worked. “We are our brother’s keepers,” Singer said.

Miller, who’s been with I&M for five years, credits his training for being able to perform the life-saving CPR. “I’m thankful, and I’m sure Dave is thankful, that AEP offers this training,” he said.