By Staff Reports
(Victor Valley)– It’s a well-known fact that Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) can save lives, however it is the quick actions of the administrator who is the true hero. San Bernardino County Fire Chief Mark Hartwig said it was a privilege to honor a special individual such as Kelly Collier for her bravery and courage with the Lifesaving Award. “Her swift actions in saving the life of another is nothing less of heroic” said Chief Hartwig.
Two complete strangers, Kirk Kennedy and Kelly Collier, started the morning of April 16, 2018 like many others across the United States, by going to their neighborhood gym. While using the treadmill, Kirk began to feel dizzy and eventually went unconscious. Working out nearby, Kelly noticed Kirk go unconscious, turn blue and breathing abnormally. 911 was called and firefighter paramedics from nearby Fire Station 161 responded.
Meanwhile, Kelly had retrieved 24-Hour Fitness’ AED and started administering resuscitation measures. Kelly followed the AED’s prompts and started CPR. At one point the AED advised Kelly the patient needed a defibrillation “shock”. Immediately after delivering the shock utilizing the AED paddles, Kirk recovered consciousness and became relieved of his symptoms.
When Medic Truck 161 arrived on scene, the patient was conscious, symptomless and unaware of the life-threatening predicament he was just in. While gathering information about the medical emergency, crews became aware of the life-threatening emergency, quick thinking and lifesaving actions that took place prior to their arrival. Crews completed an assessment of Kirk’s vital signs and transported him to San Antonio Regional Medical Center for further treatment.
Automated External Defibrillators are lightweight, battery-operated, portable devices that are easy to use. Sticky pads with sensors (called electrodes) are attached to the chest of the person who is having sudden cardiac arrest (SCA). The electrodes send information about the person’s heart rhythm to a computer in the AED. The computer analyzes the heart rhythm to find out whether an electric shock is needed. If a shock is needed, the AED uses voice prompts to tell you when to give the shock, and the electrodes deliver it.
Using an AED to shock the heart within minutes of the start of SCA may restore a normal heart rhythm. Every minute counts. Each minute of SCA leads to a 10% reduction in survival.
Cardiac arrest is a leading cause of death. Each year, more than 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur in the United States. Seventy percent of cardiac arrests occur in homes. If you are called on to give CPR in an emergency, you will most likely be trying to save the life of someone you love: a child, a spouse, a parent or a friend.
When a person has a cardiac arrest, survival depends on immediately receiving CPR from someone nearby. About 46 percent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest victims receive CPR from a bystander. CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.
According to the American Heart Association, about 90% of people who suffer out of hospital cardiac arrest die. Don’t be afraid to perform CPR for fear of unintentionally causing injury! It is much to better to act than to do nothing at all.
Without Kelly’s quick recognition and actions, Kirk’s odds of survival would have been drastically lower. This positive patient outcome is one example of great bystander CPR & AED use.
For information on finding a CPR class, visit the American Heart Association at www.heart.org.