What do you do when one of your colleagues is choking to death?

What do you do when one of your colleagues is choking to death? What do you do when one of your employees is having a heart attack? What you do when someone is dying?

September 11, 2016

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We have no one to loose

This is universally true, but perhaps especially so for a startup. This is true for Unacast, and for you too. In a startup the bond of friendship born out of trust is strong, almost resembling a family. In many ways, it is a family.

In addition, with a limited amount of resources and a limited amount of time, each and everyone one of us is a key component in bringing the startup up past the start and to the company we set out to build.

Picture this: We are all in New York

The Unacast head office is in New York and we have our engineers in Oslo, Norway. To make sure we are aligned, we all meet every 4–6 weeks for our Round Table discussion (Unacast → Unacastle → Knights of Unacastle → Round Tables. Get it?).

So we are all in New York. After a full day of workshops, and the spirit is high, we head out to share a meal. The spirit only lifts as we are served an amazing, eclectic NYC-meal and we rejoice in the fact that we are well on the way to making a dent on the world. Admittedly still high on the recent Series A raise.

Suddenly one of us gets up. He is all quiet. “Dead quiet” I would later describe it. Holding his hands around his neck and looking at us in desperation, one by one. A look that immediately tells us that something is very, very wrong. He had choked on a piece of food and panic spreads in the restaurant as the seconds and minutes pass by and he can’t draw precious air into his lounges. In literature one can often read that “time stood still”, and in that restaurant, that evening time did indeed stop.

I won’t go into details on what happened next, it’s not that kind of post, but sufficient to say that night included an ambulance and an emergency room.

The important point is that most of us had little idea of what to do, and the ones that did, as we later learned, did the wrong things in the wrong order.

Our colleague and friend survived

He is fine. But that night we learned first hand that we have no one to loose and that we won’t allow it either. As soon as we were back from the trip we ordered first aid training for all employees with yearly refreshment courses.

Do you know what do when something happens? Do you have your first aid kit nearby? Do you know where the nearest defibrillator is? Do you have someone to loose?

I didn’t. We didn’t.

So, what do you do when one of your colleagues is choking to death? What do you do when one of your employees is having a heart attack? What you do when one someone is dying?

Go book your first aid course today and learn.

I did. We did.