IBEW line workers know more than just how to replace a transformer or properly climb a pole. They are also masters of safety.


“We go to CPR training every year, and we’re always told that we’ll use it more away from work than at work,” said Vacaville, Calif., Local 1245 member Arty Mayfield. “This is what we do. This is what we’re trained to do.”

Pacific Gas and Electrical line crew member Kurt Kidwell holds the baby that he and his co-workers saved from choking.
Credit: Dustin James

Mayfield and 5 other members of a Pacific Gas and Electric line crew recently put their life-savings skills to work, helping to save a nine-month old infant from choking.

As Local 1245’s blog reports:

IBEW 1245 members Facundo Ronquillo, Kjol Turner, Art Mayfield and Mark Hockenberger, along with IFPTE-ESC member Kurt Kidwell and their supervisor, Dustin James, were on their way to a job in Fort Bragg when they decided to stop off for a meal break at Mary’s Pizza Shack in Cloverdale. The men were waiting for their order to arrive when they noticed something was going on at nearby table, where a mother and grandmother were seated with their nine-month-old infant.

The men noticed that both women were growing increasingly panicked and the crew soon realized why: the baby wasn’t breathing.

Local 1245 reports:

The GC crew members, who are all trained in CPR and emergency preparedness, knew exactly what to do, and immediately leapt into action. Kurt Kidwell was the closest and reached the baby first. He took the baby into his arms and held her close to his face to check for air flow, but felt no breath coming from her.

“She wasn’t breathing … and I knew that we needed to get an ambulance, so I yelled ‘Call 9-1-1!’” said Mayfield…

While Turner and the restaurant manager called for help, Kidwell began to perform infant CPR. Supervisor Dustin James reports that Kidwell gently flipped the baby onto her stomach and balanced her on his arm and knee, while the baby’s tearful mother knelt in front of him. With his other hand, he began to apply pressure to the baby’s back.

“Kurt was giving the baby a little Heimlich [maneuver], and pretty soon the baby started coughing up what was lodged in there!” Mayfield recalls.

The baby quickly recovered and was drinking milk by the time emergency personnel arrived.

“The culture of safety that IBEW & PG&E have worked to develop means that every lineman has the ability to save a life, whether it’s the life of a co-worker who is injured on the job, or the life of a child they’ve never met who winds up choking in a restaurant,” said Local 1245 Business Manager Tom Dalzell.

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