Fire Chief Tim Butler

Fire Chief Tim Butler
Thanks for checking out my web log! My radio call sign in Saint Paul is "Car 1." Join me as we go "On Scene" to the fire stations, training evolutions, emergency incidents, and community events in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Let's share perspectives on the issues facing our Department, our community, and the American Fire Service!

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Yesterday morning, I had the opportunity to meet with Saint Paul’s newest neighborhood crime watch group serving the Irvine, Pleasant, and Ramsey neighborhoods in Saint Paul. The Alert Neighbors group was recently created by my friend, John Morson. After “retiring” from a long career in public safety, John wanted to create a neighborhood group focused on reducing crime, building awareness of important health and safety issues facing his neighborhood, and providing information and practical solutions to known public safety risks. One of those risks is death from sudden cardiac arrest (heart attack). John’s solution: teach people a new form of Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) that only requires the use of your hands to deliver rapid compressions on the chest.

Hands Only CPR eliminates the need to breath into someone’s mouth. It reduces the aversion many people have to conventional CRP. The new technique also eliminates the need to remember the ratio of chest compressions to ventilations – something that seemed to change constantly over the last several decades. Hands Only CPR can be learned in just minutes, and requires just two simple steps:

1. Call 9-1-1.
2. Deliver rapid, deep chest compressions without interruption.

Anyone can learn Hands Only CPR in minutes. The American Heart Association provides a GREAT website on Hands Only CPR. The site provides easy-to-understand diagrams, videos, and great background information. It even provides an application for iPhone and Droid mobile devices so you can use the latest technology to show others how to perform Hands Only CPR. Check out this great website at:

The Alert Neighbors invited Saint Paul Paramedic/Firefighter Mark Wandersee to their meeting yesterday to teach a Hands Only CPR class. Mark is a very talented instructor who teaches CPR to hundreds of people every year. He brought videos, manikins, and a host of experiences “from the street,” and the class was lively and educational. 15 citizens took the class – the youngest being just seven years old! All were awarded Certificates of Completion for the class and rewarded with the knowledge of how to save a life during a sudden cardiac arrest!

Graduation Photo of the Alert Neighbors Hands Only CPR Class

Yesterday’s class was the first Hands Only CPR class taught by Saint Paul Fire….but surely not the last! I believe everyone should know this life-saving skill and that all schools and businesses should be equipped with Automatic External Defibrillators (AED). Studies show that four rapid interventions lead to superior cardiac survival rates:
1. Rapid activation of the 9-1-1 system
2. Immediate performance of CPR by bystanders
3. Immediate application of an AED
4. Rapid intervention by Advanced Life Support paramedic crews

Saint Paul residents already have a great 9-1-1 system. That system employs dispatchers that can assist bystanders with CPR instructions over the phone if necessary. The Saint Paul Fire Department has exceptionally talented paramedic/firefighter crews with rapid response times. What our system would benefit from, however, is more citizens who know CPR and more sites equipped with AEDs. Hands Only CPR classes will certainly increase the number of bystanders who know – and are willing to perform – CPR when they see an adult collapse in cardiac arrest.

If you’d like to learn Hands Only CPR, check out

If you’d like to have the Saint Paul Fire Department bring a Hands Only CPR class to your workgroup or school, please contact me at: or call the Department at: 651-224-7811.

And, if you live in the Irvine, Pleasant, or Ramsey neighborhoods in Saint Paul and want to join an interesting neighborhood group with lots of safety-related activities, check out:

Thanks for joining me "On Scene" at Saint Paul Fire’s “First Ever Hands Only CPR Class!”

Take care and be safe!