By Ryo Isobe, FLEACT Yokosuka Public Affairs
YOKOSUKA, Japan (Feb. 24, 2017) ― Yokosuka City Fire Department publicly recognized seven employees from Ship Repair Facility and Japan Regional Maintenance Center’s (SRF-JRMC) production resources support division with a letter of appreciation for saving their colleague’s life. The certificate was presented at the Yokosuka City Main Fire Department Office.
On Oct. 13, 2016, seven employees performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation and used an AED (automated external defibrillator) on their colleague who collapsed and lost consciousness.
“Frankly, we were a little scared,” said Naofumi Yamamoto, who was one of the seven employees. “Someone first called 119 [Japanese emergency number], instead of 911 for the ambulance. We seemed to have forgotten we were working under the U.S. system. Mr. Masafumi Yamashita, however, fortunately had just been trained to use the AED and we could take action immediately.
“When we got there, our colleague’s face was colorless and unconscious, and he wasn’t breathing nor had a heartbeat. We had to keep his heart pumping for more than 30 minutes before the ambulance came.”
According to Yuji Kondo, an ambulance team leader from the Yokosuka Main Fire Department Office, even a professional like him cannot sustain resuscitation efforts alone for more than two minutes.
“Your initial response at that time was critical,” said Chief Kazuhiro Fukushima of the Yokosuka City Main Fire Department. “Your immediate action in the earliest stage not only saved your colleague’s life, but also freed him from lasting effects.”
The seven employees took turns and continued their efforts until their colleague started breathing again and his heartbeat returned. He was admitted to the hospital immediately.
After staying in intensive care, he recovered within a month without any physical damage. He has since returned to work at SRF-JRMC.
The seven employees, who are from the division’s safety support and fire watch branches, are recognized as follows: Yoshinori Ari, Kiyoshi Sakae, Kouichi Tokiwa, Norio Tsuneizumi, Naofumi Yamamoto, Masafumi Yamashita and Hirokuni Yamashita.
“In addition to the AED training, bystander intervention training definitely helped me muster up the courage to step in,” said Masafumi Yamashita, who initiated the life-saving efforts. “We cannot just stand by when circumstance requires us to do something about it.”
Bystander intervention is a strategy that motivates and mobilizes people to act when they see, hear, or otherwise recognize signs of an inappropriate or unsafe situation in order to prevent harm. From September through October in 2016, SRF-JRMC conducted a series of bystander intervention training to its entire workforce, consisting of U.S. military, civilians and Japanese Master Labor Contract personnel.