CPR Revives Man in Fairfield

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Passers-by, responders resuscitate man week after Fairfield is designated HEARTSafe Community

Good Samaritans and first responders helped save a bicyclist in distress Wednesday, March 9.

The Fairfield Fire Department released information on the incident Sunday, March 13.

Calls to 911 reported a bicyclist down on the side of Black Rock Turnpike near North Street around 12:15 p.m. March 9. The cyclist, described by callers as a man in his 50s, appeared to be experiencing medical difficulty. Fairfield Fire and Police units and AMR were dispatched to the scene.

According to the report filed by Fairfield Fire Lt. Jay Swindon, “Upon the arrival of Engine 5, Christine Finerty, an off-duty nurse, Michael Labella, and Chris Arnold were performing CPR on the patient who had no pulse.”

Firefighters took over patient care, continued CPR, and applied the automatic external defibrillator (AED) carried on their fire truck to the victim. Following the delivery of several shocks, the patient began to breathe and responded to verbal instructions.

“After we applied the shocks, I told him to grab my hand, and he did,” Firefighter/Paramedic Jerry McGuire said, according to a release from the Fairfield Fire Department.

An AMR ambulance arrived on the scene and worked with firefighters to provide advanced patient care. Fairfield Police officers assisted in moving the victim to the ambulance, which transported him to St. Vincent’s Medical Center. McGuire assisted in the ambulance on the way to the hospital.

“The stars aligned, and the system worked even better than designed,” said Assistant Chief George Gomola, the incident commander. “Who could have imagined that a remote scenic location would be the perfect place to have a heart attack? Three Good Samaritans with CPR training stopped to help the fallen cyclist. With guidance from our telecommunications, they monitored the victim’s vital signs and began CPR when his pulse stopped. Our TCs did a great job supporting the civilian rescuers and relaying information from the scene to emergency responders. The calm guidance and reassurance they provided set the stage for a very successful outcome. The crew from Engine 5 used their AED to shock the victim’s heart back to life. Fairfield Police assisted with patient care and provided scene stability, and traffic control. AMR provided advanced medical care on scene and en route to the hospital.  This was truly a job well done by all.”

Wednesday’s incident occurred a week after the Town of Fairfield received designation as a HEARTSafe Community from the Connecticut Department of Public Health at a meeting of the Board of Selectmen.

“This is a perfect example of the Chain of Survival is so important and effective,” said Fire Chief Denis McCarthy. “Fairfield residents and visitors are safer thanks not only to our well-trained telecommunicators and first responders, but to the many civilians in our community who recognize the emergency, call 911, and initiate CPR prior to our arrival. We encourage all residents to get training in CPR and become part of Fairfield’s chain of survival.”

Civilian training in CPR is available through the American Red Cross, American Heart Association, AMR’s Fairfield County Training Center, Fairfield University, Fairfield YMCA, area hospitals, and other private providers throughout the region.

The Fairfield Fire Department is working with American Medical Response in planning a community-wide “Hands For Life” program later in the year to train residents in hands-only CPR and the use of Automatic External Defibrillators, with details to follow as they become available.

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