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City Lights: A hero on the H.B. Pier

October 03, 2012|By Michael Miller

So back to the main issue. How many of us would react the way Flynn did in a crisis situation? As I said, it's a nearly impossible question to answer. A few months ago, I took a CPR course in which the instructor drilled us for hours on how to handle an unconscious person — how to approach them, what orders to give bystanders, and so on.

After we went over the steps on paper, he arranged us in groups and told us to handle a simulated situation, with a classmate posing as the limp body on the floor. The instructor said, "Go!" and all of us stood and blinked dumbly, expecting someone else to intervene.

Did we all know what we were supposed to do? Yes, but in the space of a few hours, we had gotten used to carefully ordering the steps in our heads. Those methodical rules don't always translate into a cue for the body to spring into action.

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But then, that was a simulation. Suppose the person lying on the carpet had really been an unconscious person in need of help. Would the urgency of the moment have carried us through?

In Flynn's case, it did just that. As his father said, he was in the right place at the right time. And in that place, at that time, he turned out to be the right man for the job.

City Editor MICHAEL MILLER can be reached at (714) 966-4617 or at michael.miller@latimes.com.

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