Damar Hamlin cardiac arrest reinforces importance of First Aid training

It was a frightening moment across the U.S. when football player Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on live television.

A safety for the Buffalo Bills, Hamlin tackled another player and stood up – only to collapse moments later without a pulse. Thousands watched as CPR was performed, an ambulance arrived and Hamlin was driven away. The game was postponed, so fans headed to the local hospital to stand vigil and pray.

As it turned out, Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest in one of the safest places possible – a professional football stadium. He was quickly surrounded by emergency personnel and equipment, which saved his life. First responders were able to shock his heart with an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) and perform CPR until he arrived at the hospital.

Medical emergencies tend not to happen on national television. But too often, they occur in places where no one is trained to offer the kind of lifesaving medical support Hamlin received.

Here at Fehr Graham, part of our industrial safety initiative includes providing first aid and CPR training, so staff is prepared in the event of an emergency. We believe having that knowledge extends far beyond trained medical providers – it's a life skill everyone should have. 

As a long time first aid instructor, I recently saw a man break down in tears in one of my classes. He explained his father had choked and died right in front of him. None of the five people with his dad were trained in how to save him. That man had lost a loved one and vowed to never experience that feeling of helplessness again.

Our training groups are generally made up of fewer than 10 people and include three hours of first aid skills and two hours of CPR training. Learning to use an AED is included in that training. We donate our time and resources to provide first aid training to nonprofit groups, even if they are not a Fehr Graham client.

As a member of the Risk Management Team at Lambeau Field, I'm part of a team that inspects the facility and ensures the safety of the thousands of people who attend Green Bay Packer games each year. There, I've seen emergencies mitigated because of the quick response of trained people.

Knowing how to perform e first aid and CPR gives each of us an opportunity to lend a hand to someone in need. No one ever knows when an emergency might occur, but by being prepared, you can be assured that you can handle one. 

To learn more about inspections and how Fehr Graham can help train your staff in first aid and CPR, contact us or give us a call at 920.453.0700.

Portrait of seth gronewold Gordy Koch is an Environmental Health and Safety Project Manager at Fehr Graham. He audits Fehr Graham clients’ health and safety status, and develops and directs compliance programs and training initiatives for safety services under OSHA and other federal, state and local programs. Contact him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. or 920.453.0700.