Two extraordinary events involving seven LAFD Firefighters were recognized by the Board of fire Commissioners and the Los Angeles Fire Department.
On July 19, 2017 at 9:30 AM inside a Los Angeles International Airport parking structure, a 45 year-old man who had arrived to pick up his family suffered a severe heart attack causing him to go into cardiac arrest. The family called 9-1-1 and LAFD Engine 51 and Rescue Ambulance 95 quickly arrived to find bystanders performing CPR. Firefighters jumped in to continue CPR, defibrillated with a life-saving electrical shock, placed an advanced airway ET tube, and delivered IV pharmacological intervention. Due to the quick reactions by everybody involved, the patient was conscious, breathing, and his heart was once again beating on his own by the time RA 95 arrived to the hospital.
On October 23, 2017, off-duty Probationary Firefighter Allen Janzen was working out at 24hr Fitness in Northridge when he heard commotion along with people yelling for help. PFF Janzen quickly rushed over and encountered an 80 year old man pulseless and not breathing. Due to his training, he instinctively directed staff to call 9-1-1 (the staff member also happened to be Firefighter Janzen's wife who is a trainer at the gym) and immediately started chest compressions. He also determined that the gym had an Automated External Defibrillator and after applying the pads, the AED rapidly determined that no shock was advised. As the fire engine and rescue ambulance arrived, the quick actions and continued CPR by Allen Janzen allowed the patient to not only regain consciousness but was actually alert and conscious. The patient was transported to an area hospital where he again went into cardiac arrest while in the operating room and once again resuscitated. He is now at home recovering. Probationary Firefighter Allen Janzen is in his second assignment and he and his wife are soon expecting twin boys. This is a great example of how even our newest members have excellent training and boldly step up to help others both on and off-duty.
During a heart attack the “Chain of Survival” has five essential links that are vital in increasing a patient’s chances of survival, which are:
1. Immediate recognition of a cardiac arrest and activation of an emergency response team
2. Early CPR with an emphasis on chest compressions
3. Rapid defibrillation by first responders or bystanders
4. Early advanced life support, meaning paramedics
5. Post-cardiac arrest care
The teamwork of every individual involved in these dramatic events is what saved the lives of two men in what is referred to as the "Chain of Survival."
In recognition of the extraordinary lifesaving efforts by these individuals, the following LAFD members have received a Certificate of Appreciation presented at the Board of Fire Commissioner meeting:
Captain I Brandon Benn
Engineer Howard Weisweaver
Firefighter III/ Paramedic William Collyer
Firefighter III Lawrence Bonner
Firefighter III/ Paramedic Donn Cunnigan
Firefighter III/ Paramedic Michael Mueller
Probationary Firefighter II Allen Janzen
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