GREAT FALLS - Allie Wallace, a shift leader at the westside Arby’s in Great Falls, has had her Basic Life Support and CPR certificate for more than four years now, but she had never used it.
It had always been a tool she could pull out of her back pocket in case of emergency and on Jan. 11 that emergency came. A customer at the restaurant began to feel light-headed, unable to stand on their own.
“I noticed he was wobbling,” said Wallace, “When we sat him down, he was unresponsive. He wouldn’t respond to verbal commands or me squeezing his hand.”
It was then Allie realized the person had no pulse. She jumped into action, grabbing some coats from behind the register, as customers donated their own, rushing to see if there was anything they could do to help.
All Allie needed was her space and skillset. She quickly alerted the paramedics and began performing compressions.
“I actually did three compressions and then he came back,” said Wallace, “He wasn’t fully communicating verbally, and kept dozing in and out, but he did gain a pulse back. He was breathing again.”
Paramedics arrived and were able to take the person to a hospital.
Allie’s tale is a lesson for anybody considering learning life-support techniques. The situation could have ended much worse had Allie not been there.
"There’s so many accidents that happen that become ten times worse because no one knew what to do, so they just sit there and watch,” said Wallace, “If you go too long without oxygen, it can cause brain damage and other complications.”
The store’s assistant manager, Cheyenne Knowles, speaks highly of her co-worker.
“Allie is the sweetest little fairy. She wants to help all the time, she’s right there when you need her. She’s a fast learner,” says Knowles.
Allie will continue to vouch for the basic life support training she received, urging others to learn saying, “it really is that important. You never know when you’re going to save a life.”
If you would like to learn CPR, contact the American Red Cross.