‘They Saved My Life:’ SRR Employee Survives Cardiac Arrest with Co-Workers’ Aid

Savannah River Remediation employee Bill Jones survived cardiac arrest in December 2017 thanks to the quick response of co-workers.

AIKEN, S.C. (February 26, 2018)—Savannah River Remediation (SRR) employee Bill Jones is fortunate to be walking in his first-ever Heart Walk in March.

Two months ago, he didn’t know that would even be possible.

The electrical and instrumentation (E&I) mechanic is going to participate in the CSRA Heart Walk for the American Heart Association on March 10 in North Augusta in honor of his co-workers who saved his life by staying calm, acting quickly, and being in the right place at the right time.

Jones, a 30-year SRS employee, was working during a night shift in December 2017 when he suddenly experienced cardiac arrest outside of the Defense Waste Processing Facility (DWPF) control room. Jan Phillips, a DWPF lab operator, was headed to the control room, walking behind Jones, when she saw him stumble and collapse. Phillips immediately alerted the supervisor in the control room, who dialed the onsite emergency number. Paramedics were on the way.

Another one of Jones’ co-workers, E&I mechanic Rett Long, was in the control room during the episode. A former EMT, Long sprang into action. He performed CPR and deployed a nearby automated external defibrillator (AED) on Jones multiple times. Two others, Carl Edenfield and Joe Williams, were crucial in assisting Long with AED deployment and directing the paramedics to Jones.

Many SRR workers are required, and others are strongly encouraged, to complete CPR and AED training every two years.

“The entire shift that night was instrumental in getting me the help I needed,” Jones said. “The last thing I remember was walking by the control room. Then I woke up in an ambulance on the way to the hospital. The paramedics kept me calm on the way there.”

Jones returned to work about a month later and is attending cardiac rehabilitation three days a week. He expressed gratitude to SRR for putting a high emphasis not only on a safe nuclear culture, but on personal safety and wellbeing, too.

“I am just so thankful for SRR for having multiple AEDs throughout the facilities and that one was close when I needed it the most,” Jones said. “I am also thankful the company provides CPR and AED training for workers. I’m living proof it works.”

SRR President and Project Manager Tom Foster presented awards of appreciation to the four employees who assisted Jones, whose gratitude to his co-workers runs deep.

“They saved my life,” he said. “I would not be here without them, and I am immensely grateful.”

SRR is the liquid waste contractor at the Savannah River Site for the U.S. Department of Energy. SRR is composed of a team of companies led by AECOM with partners Bechtel National, CH2M, and BWX Technologies. Critical subcontractors for the contract are AREVA, Atkins, and AECOM N&E Technical Services.

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