The Electrical Worker online
May 2017

Boston IBEW Members Hailed for
Helping to Save a Life
index.html Home    print Print    email Email

Go to

Three members of Boston Local 103 resuscitated a passenger on the platform of the city's subway system March 2.

The victim collapsed at the Government Center Massachusetts Bay Transit Authority station. But through a bit of luck and the skill of IBEW journeyman wiremen, he survived.

When he collapsed at nearly 11 a.m. in a post-rush hour lull, standing next to him was physician assistant Dolly Arjun, who began chest compressions immediately and began yelling for someone to call 911.

Boston Local 103 members Kevin O'Brien, Ed Reynolds and foreman Richard Ryan were installing new circuitry in the inspector's room when Ryan heard Arjun's cry.

Reynolds grabbed O'Brien and Reynolds and they all ran to help. Between them, they had more than 75 years of experience working construction and decades of first aid training.

"When we got there, she was already doing chest compressions. Without her, I don't think the guy stood a chance," Reynolds said. "But she was tiring and she was slowing down. So Kevin took over."

While O'Brien began pumping the blood the man's own heart could not — as he was trained, to the beat of 'Stayin' Alive' by the BeeGees — Reynolds made sure the victim's airway was clear and Ryan watched the victim's pulse.

"That guy is alive because of how we were trained," O'Brien told the CBS Boston local affiliate.

Within 10 minutes, MBTA supervisors arrived with an automatic defibrillator, a machine that delivers a series of electrical pulses designed to restart an arrested heart. The victim responded and was conscious when paramedics arrived on the scene.

"When Boston fire showed up, he started getting feisty, which was great," Reynolds said.

Working with electricity has always come with risks. Proper training and the availability of effective personal protective equipment make injuries much less common than in the past, but accidents happen, and accidents with high voltage can have catastrophic consequences.

"Everyone should get CPR training. You never know when you will use it, where you may use it — home or work — or on whom you will use it, a co-worker, a family member or the public," said IBEW Safety and Health Department Director Dave Mullen. "This shows the power of all types of training IBEW members receive and use."

The story was covered in the Boston Globe and made the local TV news at nearly every station.

On March 6, Ryan, O'Brien and Reynolds were congratulated by MBTA Chief Administrator Brian Shortsleeve and presented with a plaque. They were again honored for their actions March 17, this time by Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, who is, after all, their boss.

"Every construction worker has heard some version of this saying at the beginning of the day: Do your work. Do it right and come home safe," said International President Lonnie R. Stephenson. "It counts for the customers we work for too. I can't put into words how proud we are of them."


Boston Local 103 members Ed Reynolds, Kevin O'Brien and Richard Ryan (in vests) were honored by MBTA General Manager Brian Shortsleeve for their quick action that saved the life of a passenger.