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Just one year after receiving training on how to use a newly installed Automated External Defibrillator (AED), a trio of Schnuck Markets’ store associates were recently honored for using the device to help save the life of a customer who had collapsed and stopped breathing.
The team from Schnucks’ Gravois Dillon Plaza, High Ridge, Mo., including Jim Krieger, center store manager, Dave Greeley, store manager, and receiver Tom Metzger, accepted Lifesaving Awards presented by North Jefferson County Ambulance District and the High Ridge Fire Protection District.
Krieger, who has since relocated to Schnucks Richardson Crossing, said the whole experience united the Dillon store team and gave everyone something to feel good about. “I was in aisle five when a call came across the intercom requesting the manager on duty [MOD] to come to the back aisle,” explained Krieger. “When you hear that kind of call, even if you aren’t the MOD, you start moving that way. That’s when one of our vendors ran up to tell me a customer was in trouble. When I got there, the customer was unconscious, and when I lifted his neck to feel for a pulse, he gasped for breath. That’s when I noticed his chest was not rising and asked Dave (Greeley) to go get the AED.”
Added Dave Greeley, “At first we thought he might have fallen. I had no idea it was a heart issue. Afterward, the EMTs told us this guy was gone and our team brought him back. I thought it was pretty awesome and, at the same time, something I hoped never to have to do again.”
Anticipating CPR, a meat clerk grabbed a mouth guard out of the department medical kit and brought it to receiver Tom Metzger. Krieger added, “When I connected the pads to his chest, I couldn’t reach the machine so I asked the porter who was closest to the button, to press down. The machine administered the first shock and then instructed us to resume CPR and then to administer another shock. At some point, a member of the EMT team tapped me on the shoulder. I was told we worked on him for ten minutes, but it seemed much shorter than that.”
Chief Jamie Guinn of the North Jefferson (Mo.) County Ambulance District said: “Educating employees and installation of AEDs within public institutions increases the chance of survival. The primary Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation along with promptly utilizing the AED played a vital part in saving this patient life. These actions allowed the paramedics of the North Jefferson County Ambulance District and EMT Firefighters of the High Ridge Fire Protection District to complete the chain if survival.”
Krieger, who has worked at Schnucks for 28 years, was pleased last year when the company announced it would be investing in AEDs for all stores, offices and facilities and was happy to be trained on how to use the new equipment. “Honestly, I never thought I would use it. I thought the defibrillators were nice to have and I was sure at some point they would be used,” Krieger said. “Personally, however, I thought, ‘What are the chances of someone being in need when you are on duty at your store?’ And yet, just a year later, I am putting one in use. Those machines work and they do make a difference.”
When the customer was wheeled out of the store, Krieger was told the paramedics found a pulse. “It was encouraging to know he had a fighting chance and I was glad we were able to give that to him,” he added.
St. Louis-based Schnuck Markets, Inc. operates 100 stores and 95 in-store pharmacies in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin and Iowa.