CPR, quick action help electrocution victim

From: Detroit Free Press

When Matthew Hobson took a CPR class as a high school sophomore in 4H, he never thought he’d wind up using what he learned in a real emergency.

But the 24-year-old Ira Township man is being hailed for helping to resuscitate a 29-year-old man who was electrocuted while paving a driveway in Sterling Heights on Tuesday afternoon.

Hobson, who has worked for Mini-Mix Concrete in Clinton Township for three months, went into action after someone else at the job site accidentally let a long metal pole touch an overhead primary electrical wire, transmitting 13,200 volts, said Sterling Heights Fire Chief Chris Martin. The man fell to the ground in cardiac arrest.

“There was no hesitation at all. I stopped what I was doing and ran over to him,” recalled Hobson, who was delivering concrete at the time to a home on the 33000 block of Somerset. “I was too busy to think about what was going on. I was more worried about keeping him alive.”

And he did — by administering chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth until emergency responders arrived three minutes and 37 seconds later. Firefighters used a defibrillator to restore the victim’s heartbeat and rushed him to the emergency room, Martin said.

According to the National Safety Council, in the U.S., an average of 325 people die and 4,400 are injured on the job every year because of electrical hazards. The majority of those are due to contact with electrical lines.

“Everybody’s calling me a hero, but the way I feel is I did what I had to do at that point in time. Do I feel good about myself? Yes, I do. In this industry we’re in, we’re like one big family,” the 2008 Marysville High School graduate said.

The full effect of what he’d done hit him later that night at the Armada Fair: “Wow, I can’t believe I just saved this guy’s life.”

Martin applauded Hobson’s quick thinking and plans to give him an award at the Sterling Heights Fire Department’s annual open house Oct. 6

“Firefighters have a duty to act. That’s what we’re here for,” Martin said. “Citizens all too often seem not to get involved when their actions mean the difference between life and death. Matt didn’t hesitate to act.”

Hobson urged everyone to learn CPR.

“I volunteered. I thought it would be a good thing to know. You never know when you’ll need to use it,” he said.