Off-Duty Firefighters Save Cardiac Arrest Victim

By Staff Reports

(Victor Valley)– Just another ordinary day? Not for Captain/Paramedic Brett Dickerson and Engineer/Paramedic Dustin Griffin.

On March 1, while shopping with their families at the Sprouts Market located at 6753 Carnelian St., Rancho Cucamonga, off-duty San Bernardino County firefighters, Captain Brett Dickerson and Engineer Dustin Griffin, came upon each other at the checkout counter. They heard a commotion in the deli area and Griffin went to investigate. He noticed a store employee lying on the floor unresponsive. Realizing there was a medical emergency, Dickerson quickly joined Griffin.

Both firefighters rapidly took control of the situation, evaluating the patient and administering medical attention. They immediately called 9-1-1 and started CPR, while a store employee retrieved an AED (automatic external defibrillator). While continuing CPR, they hooked up the AED to the patient, where they were guided to shock the subject and then continue CPR.  Shortly after, the patient regained a cardiac rhythm. The Rancho Cucamonga Fire Dept. arrived on scene while CPR was in progress.  Dickerson and Griffin remained to assist with continued patient care and loading the patient on the gurney for transport to a local hospital.

The victim, an adult male in his 50’s, survived the cardiac arrest and is expected to make a full recovery thanks impart to the quick actions of Dickerson and Griffin.  On June 6, the Rancho Cucamonga City Council honored Dickerson and Griffin with the Lifesaving Citation Award for their lifesaving efforts.

About Sudden Cardiac Arrest

Although a heart attack can lead to sudden cardiac arrest (SCA), the two are not the same. SCA is when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly, whereas a heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked, but the heart continues to beat. Each year, more than 420,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests occur, making it the leading cause of death in the United States. Survival rates nationally for SCA are less than eight percent, but delivery of CPR can sustain life until paramedics arrive by maintaining vital blood flow to the heart and brain. However, only about a third of SCA victims receive bystander CPR. Without CPR, brain damage or death can occur in minutes. The average EMS response time is nine minutes, even in urban settings; after 10 minutes there is little chance of successful resuscitation. The American Heart Association estimates that effective bystander CPR, provided immediately after SCA, can double or triple a person’s chance of survival. 

A new app called PulsePoint alerts CPR-trained bystanders, like you, to a cardiac emergency in your vicinity. You can now get to the scene and start CPR in the critical lifesaving minutes before EMS teams arrive. Learn more about PulsePoint and download your free app at www.sbcfire.org

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