Laramie River Station electricians are Heimlich Heroes

three men standing in shop
Pictured at Laramie River Station from left, Kevin Collins, electrician I; Brian Burkett, electrician II; and Jim Moody, electrician I.

During the week of Jan. 22, electricians at Laramie River Station were attending a ControlLogix class in Gillette, Wyoming, when an unexpected event occurred.

The electricians started their day with some breakfast in the hotel before leaving for their class. When a stranger began coughing repeatedly, Kevin Collins, electrician I, and Bryan Burkett, electrician II, looked to him to ask if he was okay. When the individual pointed towards his throat, it was evident that something needed to be done. The man was choking.

Collins quickly began performing the Heimlich maneuver. However, the blockage remained.

When Jim Moody, electrician I, came down the stairs of the hotel, he expected to enjoy a normal morning with a cup of coffee. But when he saw the scene around him, he immediately took action. “They had their backs to me, but it was obvious what they were doing,” Moody says. It was then when Collins asked Moody to take over. “I did it four, five, or six times before he finally said, ‘You got it!’” As the tense situation deescalated, relief filled the dining room.

Collins and Moody didn’t see the man again until that evening. After their class, they began walking from the parking lot into the hotel when the man stopped them. “He came over, shook both of our hands, and told us again how much he appreciated us for saving his life,” Moody says.

Moody attributes the quick action taken during the event to the biannual CPR/AED classes provided by Laramie River Station. “I’ve had many CPR classes, and Basin is really good about it,” Moody says. “We go over it every other year. We’re prepared for it.” It was this preparedness that potentially saved a man’s life. “It was the first time I’ve ever had to do anything like that, but I think that the training helped me know what to do and not panic,” Moody says.

Gilbert Ortiz, electrical supervisor at Laramie River Station, says he is not surprised by the heroic actions taken by his team. “I see these individuals in action daily. This is of no surprise to me as they perform at high levels day in and day out,” he says.

Ortiz believes that safety training at Laramie River Station serves as a continuous reminder of how important safety skills are, on or off the job. “Having a good safety culture with continual education gives employees a well-rounded tool bag to react in time of need,” Ortiz says.

The biannual CPR/AED training at Laramie River Station provides hands-on training and teaches attendees how to effectively respond to emergency situations. “Whether it be hands-on CPR training with mannequins or approaching an individual in need, the curriculum outlines emergency action steps necessary to guide you on how to check and give emergency care for an injured or ill person and how to care for the individual in need,” Ortiz says.

This type of scenario happens when least expected. The safety training at Basin Electric stands as a continuous reminder of how essential safety skills are, both on and off the job.