Local Information

Two men honored for saving life of ferries employee

Wednesday, December 5, 2018 - 13:00

Dana Warr, communications, 206-515-3451

Naval officer, shipyard manager recognized for response to cardiac arrest

SEATTLE – While many Washington State Ferries employees are trained to save lives, it is a relief to know that ferry employees are a part of a community where others are also prepared to leap into action. On Wednesday, Dec. 5, WSF honored Petty Officer 2nd Class Nicholas Besheer and Vigor Safety Manager Billy Ray Brittain for saving the life of WSF Assistant Engineer Dave Bennett.

Besheer and Brittain were presented with a WSF Life Ring Award for their life-saving efforts and Bennett got the chance to thank his two heroes. This is only the second time individuals outside of WSF have earned this award, which is generally reserved for WSF employees whose actions save a life. The first instance was in January when a U.S. Navy nurse saved a passenger aboard the Spokane.

On Nov. 13, Besheer and Brittain performed CPR and used an automated external defibrillator (AED) on Bennett after he collapsed and was found suffering from a cardiac arrest while working on a ferry docked at the Vigor shipyard. Besheer is assigned to the USS Sampson, which is also docked at Vigor.

“Without action and raw human compassion to save a life we would not be here today,” said WSF Chief of Staff Elizabeth Kosa. “I’m grateful for every person and medical team that provided the best care available to ensure one of our own crew had a chance to recover from a significant medical incident.”

“We all can make a difference when it comes to cardiac arrest and I have seen firsthand the benefit of having an AED readily available to use in a cardiac emergency,” said Laura Miccile, King County EMS CPR/PAD (public access defibrillator) program manager. “When people in our community perform CPR and use an AED, the chance of survival doubles or triples, so we encourage everyone to learn how to call 911, do CPR and use an AED. It’s quick and simple to learn, and the skills might someday save someone’s life.”

Life-saving preparedness and equipment on WSF vessels

Basic first aid training is mandatory for all WSF crewmembers. Licensed deck officers are required to take an advanced first aid refresher course every two years. In addition, all WSF vessels are equipped with multiple AEDs and checked daily to ensure that they are ready to use when needed. In 2018, WSF crewmembers have responded to 88 emergency, life-saving or rescue events so far.

Washington State Ferries, a division of the Washington State Department of Transportation, is the largest ferry system in the U.S. and safely and efficiently carries nearly 25 million people a year through some of the most majestic scenery in the world. For breaking news and the latest information, follow WSF on Twitter.

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