Firegeezer posted a recent story about a firefighter from Lynn, MA who experienced cardiac arrest on the fireground and was resuscitated at the scene.
Coverage from Firefighter Close Calls is here.
According to the post, the firefighter had “just come out of the house” when he suddenly collapsed and firefighters began CPR immediately.
A news helicopter captured dramatic footage of the resuscitation, which you can see here.
It was not immediately clear whether or not he’s going to be okay, and our prayers are with firefighter Mark Ducharme and his family.
Anyone who reads NIOSH reports knows that heart attacks are the leading cause of LODDs in the United States, and perhaps the world, but how many of us are really prepared to work a cardiac arrest at a fire scene or even on the training ground?
Emergencies are stressful, especially when it’s one of our own.
Is an AED a part of your RIC/RIT kit?
As an ALS unit standing by at every fire scene?
How about the training ground?
Have you ever tried to undress an unconscious firefighter in full gear, including SCBA?
I have. It’s not easy.
This is a drill that every firefighter in the country should attempt at least once.
A couple of observations:
If you think it’s a sudden cardiac arrest as opposed to an asphyxial arrest, just open the firefighter’s turnout coat, start chest compressions, place the combi-pads as soon as possible, and shock the firefighter prior to taking the firefighter’s SCBA and turnout coat off.
Undressing a firefighter in full gear is time consuming and defibrillation is too important.
If it’s an asphyxial arrest, then airway is more important, and you’ll have to address the airway immediately.
Before anyone asks, the BVM in the video had a broken stem so the oxygen tubing couldn’t be attached. It came out of a bin that is used to return equipment to the quartermaster, and I’m assuming that’s the reason it was in the bin.
But you know what? Emergency scenes can be chaotic. Equipment fails. That’s reality!
Obviously some time could have been saved by cutting off the SCBA mask and so on, but I can pretty much guarantee you that you can’t undress an unconscious firefighter as fast as you think you can!