Edgewood, WA — A 2-year-old boy, Thorin Hess, was wondering about and stepped on the cover of a septic tank which gave way. He fell inside — down 10 feet — and his mother and sister ran to the tank to rescue him. After locating the boy they attempted to pull him out, the boy’s sister said his shoe slipped off and he fell back in. He was too slippery to easily retrieve through the tank’s small hole.

The mother, Marcia, was able to squeeze herself through the septic tank’s opening, sustaining significant bruising in the process. She was able to hand the boy out of the tank to the 12-year-old sister, Madi Hess. The boy was unresponsive but out of the tank. However, getting in the tank was one thing, but getting out was proving much more difficult. Marcia wasn’t in danger, but she was stuck and unable to help her son any further.

This left Madi alone with her unresponsive toddler brother. She called 911 immediately, and the operator told her how to conduct CPR. She listened to his instructions, and by the time the first responders arrived at the scene, little Thorin was responsive again.

Watch the whole story at WBALTV here.

In this May 17, 2008 file photo, Jessica Kocian practices a first aid response for CPR during a first aid/CPR/AED class at the Red Cross in Chicago. A new study finds bystanders saved more lives using hands-only CPR than those using traditional CPR with mouth-to-mouth breathing.  | AP Photo/Stacie Freudenberg, File

The Fire and Rescue Chief later advised that residents ensure their septic tanks are secure and closed off. This is important to ensure this sort of thing doesn’t happen again, however, tragic accidents do happen from time to time, and though people can increase preventative measures, it’s impossible to mitigate risk entirely. That’s where preparedness comes in.

Teaching your kids valuable life-saving skills can pay dividends. Hopefully, they will never have to use them, but CPR, bleeding control, and the basics of what to do when someone has a seizure or allergic reaction can potentially save a life — it may be while they are still a child, or it may be later in life. Either way, they will be grateful, as will those who receive their care.

Authors’ opinion:

Unfortunately, kids are often not spared from tragedy. When I was in eighth grade, my school came under attack by four gunmen. Through a series of events, thankfully no children were killed, but they still killed six staff members. I was afraid for my own life and the lives around me as I hid under a desk in the library, but a lot of that fear stemmed from the profound sense of uselessness. I couldn’t fight, and if someone was injured, I wouldn’t know what to do beyond putting pressure on a wound like you see in the movies.

I talk more about my profound feeling of uselessness during the shooting here but suffice to say that not only does a little first aid training make someone feel useful, but it helps immensely when processing a tragedy. Feeling like you did everything you could is a lot better than feeling panicked, confused and useless.

Featured image: In this Sept. 15, 2006 file photo a person participates in an American Red Cross CPR training in Washington. Two new studies conclude that “hands-only” chest compression is enough to save a life. The American Heart Association has been promoting “hands-only” CPR for two years, though it’s not clear how much it’s caught on. The new studies should help, experts say. | AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari, File