King County employee performs emergency CPR on unconscious coworker

Last month, Solid Waste Division employee Kevin Dahl was unhooking his trailer before leaving Cedar Hills for his final garbage load of the night. That’s when he noticed something unusual.

Kevin Dahl, Solid Waste Division

What he saw was a utility truck parked by the wash bays’ restrooms. Not an unusual spot to be but at that time of night most workers using those vehicles have clocked out. When he returned from the transfer station 90 minutes later to pick up his final load of the night, the utility truck was still there. Kevin had a strong sense something was not right.

Kevin said, “I parked my truck and went to check it out.” After knocking and getting no response, Kevin decided he had to find a way in. “The door seemed locked, so I leaned into it and pushed it open.” What he found was a coworker passed out in the corner of the restroom.

“I tried to revive him, but he didn’t respond. I checked his pulse, and put some cold towels on him, hoping that might wake him up.”

Kevin ran to the lead office for help from additional coworkers. Kevin then called 911. With guidance from the 911 operator, Kevin began chest compressions, keeping this going until emergency personnel arrived.

“It was pretty emotional,” he said, the 911 operator told him to continue chest compressions until someone pulls you off. “She gave instructions while I kept pumping blood through his body.”

Kevin provided CPR for over 20 minutes until the Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) arrived and took over. They continued working on the patient another 30 minutes before stabilizing him enough to put him in an ambulance.

“No one goes to those restrooms at night,” according to Kevin. An EMT told him that the unconscious man probably would not have been with us in the morning if he hadn’t been found that night.

“They left with the lights flashing, so I thought that was a good sign,” Kevin recalled.

Kevin credits his CPR training from his previous position with King County’s Roads Services Division for his ability to stay calm, take the right steps, and likely save a life.

CPR training available

Safety training courses are available free of charge to all King County employees and are taught by qualified Occupational Education and Training Program Administrators. When possible, classes can be held at work site locations.

Various safety training classes, including CPR and first aid, are available. Go to the Safety Training Classes page for information.

Editor’s note: The patient’s name has been omitted to respect their privacy.