You never know when you’re going to be put to the test: To have to decide to take responsibility and be accountable in an unpredictable but clearly life-endangered situation needing fast action.
As our apprenticeships industry body, ABBTF is very proud of 17 year old, second year bricklaying apprentice Kyuss Smith, of Gary Pollack Bricklaying, Orange NSW, for stepping up and acting when he did on April 21. He saved a life through his quick thinking and speed when another tradie fell down, and as Kyuss explains was ‘fitting and frothing at the mouth and his eyes rolling back in his head’. Several other people also noticed but no one knew what to do. So, as reported by the Central Western Daily, Kyuss recalled what he’d seen on the popular US police action television series, NCIS and rolled the 33 year old man over, clearing his tongue from his airway and started compressions and mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.
Kyuss remained calm and focused on what he was doing while another guy ran to call the paramedics. When the man started fitting again, Kyuss knew his patient was alive. “He started coming back and the paramedics arrived and gave him oxygen,” he said. “I was pretty happy – I’d never taken a class.”
After the event I spoke to Gary Pollack, Kyuss’s boss and his one apprentice on the team of three bricklayers and a labourer. Gary was working on the other side of the commercial construction site in Orange and was not aware of what was happening. He said of Kyuss “He apparently enquired as to whether anyone was going to do anything and no one came forward so he decided to take the initiative and do CPR.”
Gary, who is President of the Western Region MCA, earlier told the Central Western Daily “Kyuss should be confident that he can do anything now. He’s proven himself. It’s because of his self-belief, that he acted so quickly and it’s a life-defining moment for him. He acted quickly and decisively at the right time – I don’t know if (the person) would’ve made it, if someone hadn’t been there.” The last information I have is that the man was recovering and our best wishes go to him.
Apparently Kyuss has had a lot of praise and attention with people stopping him in the street and shaking his hand and as a gesture of thanks, the newspaper is paying for him to do a CPR course. First aid training is an excellent skill to have under your belt, whether you’re an apprentice bricklayer or not. Other courses we’d recommend to apprentices regardless of where you live can be accessed from Industry Associations, via this recent blog on Qld Licence preparation.
It is almost a year ago to the day, on April 23, that Gary lost his then bricklaying apprentice Ethan Hertslet in a tragic motor accident, following which Gary rallied the local industry to help raise funds for Ethan’s family.
On the business front, Gary commented that “There are more millionaire contractors on site than ever before. People are coming into Bricklaying and Construction because they are looking at other avenues to make a living and in particular, there seems to be an influx of younger people getting into the trade lately”, all of which suggests the industry is quite strong in the area.
ABBTF Manager – NSW