Bergland stops for groceries, saves a life instead

PORT ORCHARD — Gail Bergland went shopping on the evening of April 10 at the local Safeway.

When she finally departed the store later that night, Bergland left with more than a bag of groceries — she knew her CPR efforts had saved a life.

While combing the aisles for groceries that night, Bergland witnessed another shopper, Brian Smith, suddenly collapse in his tracks.

Rushing to Smith’s side, Bergland checked him for a pulse and respirations. Finding none, she began CPR and instructed others in the store to call 911.

The call was answered by Kitsap 911 and the nearest fire units were dispatched to the store.

In the three minutes and 11 seconds after being dispatched, Tremont Ladder 31 and a medic unit arrived on the scene, followed by Bethel Medic 11.

In the minutes before they arrived, Bergland continued her lifesaving CPR efforts on Smith.

When paramedics arrived, they began lifesaving measures that included shocking the victim with an AED portable unit. Smith’s heart then restarted, and he regained consciousness while being wheeled from Safeway and into one of the emergency vehicles.

He was hospitalized, then released a few days later.

For her lifesaving efforts, Bergland was recognized by the South Kitsap Fire and Rescue’s board of commissioners and assistant fire chief Jeff Faucett at the board’s meeting May 25.