Our Aircraft Rescue and Firefighting Unit staff members are trained to respond to emergencies on the airfield.
But helping with a medical emergency in midair is a different story.
On Sept. 21, King County Sheriff’s Office deputies Seth Grant and Graydon Matheson were returning from a conference in Louisville, Ky., aboard an Alaska Airlines flight from Chicago. A flight attendant asked over the intercom if there were any medically trained passengers aboard.
Grant and Matheson immediately responded, as did an ER doctor who also happened to be aboard. An 81-year-old man had collapsed and stopped breathing in the front of the aircraft. The three provided continuous CPR while the pilot made an emergency landing in Spokane, where medics were waiting at the airport.
The medics continued to render aid to the man, and after about 20 minutes they reported that his man’s heart was beating on its own.
Grant and Matheson reboarded the plane and arrived in Seattle later that evening, where they were welcomed by reporters (check out KIRO’s coverage).
We commend Seth and Graydon for their quick thinking and actions aboard that aircraft. It’s a nice reminder that if an emergency happens here, our ARFF responders are ready and able to act.