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Employee Spotlight January 04, 2023

Paul Kiss awarded General Manager Life Saving Award

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Paul Kiss awarded General Manager Life Saving Award

Recently, the PUD Joint Safety Team awarded Paul Kiss, PUD Operations Superintendent, the General Manager’s Life Saving Award for quick action and aid provided this past July 2022 at the Lake Stevens Aquafest.

This award is presented to individuals who make a significant contribution in the attempt to save a life, or lives, or render aid to someone seriously injured. This includes but is not limited to acts of resuscitation and attempts to restart a person’s heart, significant organizational or leadership contributions in a lifesaving or major first aid event, and significant roles in rescue efforts.

The Joint Safety Team awarded Paul Kiss the General Manager’s Life Saving Award for performing the Heimlich maneuver on a person experiencing a medical emergency. While Paul was out enjoying time with his family at Aquafest, he came upon a series of eating contests. Over 100 spectators and paramedics were present. Paul was about 10 feet away from about 15 participants who were partaking in a watermelon-eating contest. The youngest participant was about 14/15 years old. The rules of the contest did not allow them to use their hands to eat the melon, and each person started the competition with a quarter of a watermelon to consume.

Paul had noticed that one of the younger contestants had only taken four or five bites of his watermelon as others were devouring their portions. Paul kept watching the child, thinking, wow, maybe he is not very good at eating watermelon. As Paul kept watching, all the first-aid training of 30+ years came flooding through his immediate thoughts. Most recently was a memorable first-aid class that was instructed by Tim Durand, PUD Safety Specialist. Paul saw the child reaching for his throat and realized that the child was choking. Paul was able to reach the child just in time and put his training into action. Paul performed the Heimlich maneuver until the participant had dislodged a piece of chicken and watermelon. Since emergency medical staff was on hand for this event, the contestant was then able to get immediate attention from medical staff.

“Safety is a 24/7 activity,” said Paul. “It’s so important to keep your eyes and ears open to what’s going on around you. You never know when your safety training could save someone’s life.”

“We want to commend Paul for his willingness to step up and take necessary action to save this child,” said Rob Beidler, PUD Senior Manager Safety, Security and Emergency Management. “It’s so easy to think that someone else will jump in and do the right thing in this situation. Paul showed tremendous leadership by being aware of his surroundings, remembering his training, and taking action to help.”