CPR helps firemen to save lives

By Michelle Byrne

DeKalb Firefighters’ “save rates” for the resuscitation of clinically dead patients is on the rise, and their efforts have been recognized by the DeKalb City Council.

Firefighter/Paramedic Larry Haler said that paramedics have recently been able to save more lives because a larger percentage of the public is being taught cardio-pulminary resuscitation (CPR).

“One of the worst places to have a heart attack is in your own home because, unless your family or friends know CPR, you have to wait for a few minutes for the rescue squad to arrive. The first one to two minutes are the most important when you are having a heart attack (or heart arrest), and it may take the rescue squad two to three minutes to even get to the scene of the arrest,” Haler said.

“It’s a rewarding feeling to see others doing CPR and to be able to save someone’s life,” Haler said. He said sometimes patients who have been saved come back later to the station to tell the paramedics “thank you,” and some write letters to express their thanks.

Council members also have begun to show their appreciation for the efforts of the firefighters by publicly acknowledging their “saves” at city council meetings. Firefighters/Paramedics Haler, Tom Doyle and Lieutenant Robert Sanders were honored by the council at its regular meeting Monday.

Whenever a firefighter saves a life, the fire chief sends that person a letter of appreciation. At the city council meeting, Mayor Greg Sparrow notified members of the council of the letters. Haler said the letters of appreciation were started by Chief Long when he became chief last May.

The fire department offers CPR classes to the public at the station. For more information about the classes, contact the CPR instructor, Bruce Harrison, at the fire department.