Sanitation Worker Saves Choking Woman Thanks to First Aid Training - NBC4 Washington

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Sanitation Worker Saves Choking Woman Thanks to First Aid Training

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey talks with a sanitation worker and the resident whose life he saved. (Published Friday, June 12, 2015)

    Working on a garbage truck is not the most glamorous job, but one public works employee in Vienna, Virginia, is getting a lot of praise after he helped rescue a stricken woman along his route.

    Gul Nabi didn't hesitate to give potentially life-saving help because every Vienna town employee receives first aid training.

    Nabi is normally assigned to the street maintenance team but last week he agreed to sub on a trash truck. He noticed a woman who appeared upset walking out of her house,

    "I see the woman walk from the home. I see her walk is different," said Nabi.

    The woman -- Jane Evans -- was alone in her home doing a crossword puzzle when she took a pill that it didn't go down. She pushed her medical alert pendant but then became fearful.

    "I just panicked," said Evans. "Actually I was thinking, I cannot die on a pill because how are they going to explain that to my sons, so at some point I realized I needed help, so I went outside."

    Evans' plan was to get to her neighbor house for help. She saw Nabi first and gestured to him to come over.

    "I was pointing to my neighbor's house and he started to turn and then he said, 'No!,'" Evans recalled. "He said stand up, put your hands up and then ... I was alive."

    Nabi had performed a textbook Heimlich maneuver.

    "I said what happened. She said, 'I'm choking.' I said, 'OK, you don't mind if I do something?'" said Nabi.

    Once the pill was dislodged, Nabi did go get Evan's neighbor, and then it was back on the trash truck.

    When Evans called town hall to praise Nabi, she learned why he reacted so quickly. All 180 Vienna employees are required to get first aid, CPR and AED training every other year. The idea behind the decade-old policy -- town workers, especially sanitation, public works and inspectors -- are everywhere the public might need help.

    "Training every two years we're hopeful if something happens, they won't panic, and this is proof they can go out there and do it," said Mary-Beth Bustle, a Vienna employee who has been trained to teach the classes.

    Even so, Evans is impressed with what Nabi did for her.

    "He recognized the problem, he knew what to do and he did it, not worrying whether he's going to get sued down the road," she said. "He saw somebody in distress and helped them. I think that's admirable in today's society."

    "She feels good. I feel good, too," Nabi said. "I say thanks, God!"

    It's not the first time a town worker has stepped in to give first aid, Bustle said. Another trash truck worker saw someone in distress in a gas station parking lot. "Someone was holding them up in a way that cuts off air flow. He laid them down. He did not have to perform CPR but he calmed the person and got emergency there," said Bustle.