One man is alive today thanks to the brilliant response and training of Farmington firefighters and EMTs.
The man, 47, was unresponsive when Farmington firefighters were dispatched around 9:20 a.m. Thursday morning. Town of Farmington firefighters Dennis Frazao and Michael Vibert, firefighters Paul Krause and Patrick Parkinson, as well as American Medical Response emergency medical technicians Lindsay Ryan and Krystyna Letizio arrived on scene and found him in full cardiac arrest.
A doctor happened to be there and had begun Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on the patient before their arrival.
The firefighters continued to perform CPR and applied the fire department’s Automatic External Defibrillator (AED), which shocked the patient’s heart back to a normal rhythm, said Mary-Ellen Harper, director of Farmington fire and rescue services. Following two additional minutes of CPR, the patient began to breathe on his own.
“Our firefighters maintain a constant state of readiness by continuously training for situations like the one seen on Thursday," said Tunxis Hose Chief Brian Hunter, Jr. “The teamwork shown by our members and the crew from AMR not only provided for a positive outcome for this patient, but also will improve the level of coordinated service our agencies provide. I commend Firefighters Frazao, Krause, Parkinson and Vibert and EMTs Letizio and Ryan on a job well done.”
Thursday’s success story also showcases the strength of the “chain of survival” in Farmington, Harper said.
The chain of survival is a four-step process outlined by the American Heart Association for saving the life of a person in cardiac arrest. It includes early access to emergency care, CPR, defibrillation, and early advanced care.
“It was a perfect storm,” Harper said. “The patient got everything he needed – early CPR, early AED and early advanced care. His life was saved because of that.”
Farmington firefighters are equipped with defibrillators and are able to reach medical calls quickly, Harper said. In addition, the UConn Medical Center’s close proximity allows patients access to medical care within minutes.
The state of Connecticut recognized Farmington as a HeartSAFE Community in April 2010 because of the town’s demonstrated commitment to providing a strong chain of survival throughout the town’s emergency service as well as throughout the community in public buildings and private industry.
The chain of survival in the hands of Farmington firefighters and EMTs resulted in a very positive outcome for the patient, Harper said.
“I understand he’ll be able to go right back to his life with no serious effects.”
Haper said the only thing that might have improved the situation is if there had been a defibrillator at the scene before firefighters arrived.
"We as a fire department strongly advocate that anybody and everybody take a CPR class and we encourage small businesses to buy an AED. We’d love to see them as commonplace as fire hydrants some day," she said.
Many firefighters are certified in teaching CPR. Anyone interested in taking a class should contact Mary-Ellen Harper at firstname.lastname@example.org.