Sunday, July 14, 2024

Local first responders recognized for lifesaving efforts

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CRESSON — Local first responders were recognized by the Chisholm Trail 100 Club for their lifesaving efforts on two separate incidents during the Cresson Volunteer Fire Department’s Open House/Celebration event June 14.

FEB. 17 LIFESAVE

According to an award recommendation by Cresson Fire Chief Ron Becker, 76-year-old Norman Davis of Colleyville was enjoying an outing with his son, Aaron, at the Motorsport Ranch facility in Cresson Feb. 17.

Davis was at the wheel of one of the high-performance cars at the DriveXotic attraction, speeding around the track, when his instructor/coach Jimmy Farr noticed Davis was not responding. Farr brought the car to a safe stop and instructors Ryan Crawford and Hayden Whiteside hurried to assist with the emergency. They alerted Bailey Stone, an EMT with the DeCordova Bend Estates/Acton Volunteer Fire Department (and a paramedic student), that a driver had fallen asleep, and the instructors couldn’t wake him.

Stone drove to the unresponsive Davis after requesting DriveXotic Manager Josh Hough to activate emergency responders by calling 911. She began to direct lifesaving measures for Davis. The instructors initially at Davis’ side determined he was pulseless and began providing lifesaving CPR. Ray Whitehead, the acting manager of the facility, brought crucial supplemental oxygen to the scene.

At 10:33 a.m., Texas EMS and the Cresson Volunteer Fire Department (CVFD) were dispatched to the facility for an “unknown problem.” CVFD Firefighter and Motorsport Ranch employee Scott Delaney responded, assessed the situation, and directed other arriving CVFD personnel to Davis’ location.

Delaney advised that CPR was being provided to Davis. CVFD Chief Becker directed Firefighter Joey Falter to bring CVFD’s LifePak 15 monitor/defibrillator to Davis’ side and CVFD’S EMT (also a paramedic student) Trystan Garrison to confirm the patient’s status. CVFD Chief Becker relieved the track staff and began providing chest compressions. It was confirmed that Davis did not have a pulse.

The track staff informed the CVFD responders they had delivered two defibrillation shocks to Davis with the facility’s Automatic External Defibrillator without reviving Davis. Immediately it was determined that he was suffering ventricular fibrillation. CVFD’s Garrison and arriving Texas EMS Paramedic Supervisor Michael Ward defibrillated Davis at the recommended 200 joule energy setting within a couple of minutes of CVFD’s arrival. Chief Becker resumed CPR when he noticed Davis’ chest began rising on its own.

It was confirmed that Davis had regained a pulse, and he was immediately transferred to the Texas EMS ambulance where supportive care was provided by Garrison, Ward, Texas EMS Paramedic Corbin Bullington and EMT Jonathan Head. It was determined at that point that Davis had apparently suffered a posterior myocardial infarction — a very dangerous heart attack.

The Texas EMS providers decided it would be best for the recovering Davis to be transferred to definitive care by air medical helicopter. CVFD Firefighters Kevin Olivarez and Matthew Vaughn secured a safe landing zone for the helicopter. Davis’ son, Aaron, joined Chief Becker in the CVFD’s command vehicle and was kept informed of what was being done for his father.

The following Monday, after his condition had stabilized, Davis was provided cardiac catheterization. On Feb. 25, Davis returned to his home with no neurological deficits from his cardiac arrest experience.

Becker’s award nomination recommends the seven Motorsport Ranch employees be recognized for their crucial role in Davis’ successful outcome.

"Had they not acted quickly to start CPR and maintain some level of perfusion to Mr. Davis, he would not have survived, with at least a 15 minute ‘down time’ from onset to converting defibrillation,” Becker’s letter states. “It’s important to publicize the important steps bystanders at these types of emergencies can take to make a difference rather than just stand to the side. We need more engaged and prepared businesses and employees with AED’s readily available as illustrated by this event.

“I also recommend recognition of the six CVFD firefighters. Their immediate response and quick appropriate actions with more sophisticated equipment made the critical difference in saving Mr. Davis’s life. I recommend recognition of the three Texas EMS responders who monitored Mr. Davis’s post-resuscitation status. As he stabilized, they provided just the needed and appropriate interventions.”

Fifteen local first responders were awarded for their heroic actions during Cresson’s Open House event, including: Cresson Fire Department responders Becker, Trystan Garrison, Joey Falter, Kevin Olivarez, and Matthew Vaughn; Motorsport Ranch responders Scott Delaney, Jimmy Farr, Ryan Crawford, Hayden Whiteside, Bailey Stone, Josh Hough and Ray Whitehead; and Texas EMS responders Michael Ward, Corbin Bullington, and Jonathan Head.

MAY 26 LIFESAVE

In the early morning hours of May 26, the Cresson Volunteer Fire Department and Texas EMS were dispatched to a rural residence for a cardiac or respiratory arrest, according to Becker’s award nomination. Given the chaotic nature of the information provided to the Hood County Sheriff’s Office dispatcher, deputies were also dispatched.

At 3:18 a.m., the first Cresson apparatus arrived from its station 9.1 miles away. Cresson Firefighter/EMT Samuel Escobedo and Firefighter Matt Vaughn arrived to find a 19-year-old male lying on his back outside in the yard, not breathing and pulseless. No bystander CPR was being performed.

Firefighter Vaughn immediately began providing chest compressions while EMT Escobedo attached Cresson’s monitor defibrillation pads. Escobedo initially observed asystole. Cresson Operations Chief/Paramedic Jerad Gomez arrived and confirmed Escobedo’s initial assessment that the male was pulseless and not breathing. After approximately three additional minutes of CPR by Vaughn, a second rhythm check indicated ventricular fibrillation. While Escobedo prepared to deliver a defibrillation shock, the young patient began to attempt to breathe. The patient’s rhythm transitioned from ventricular fibrillation to a regular perfusing rhythm.

Escobedo confirmed the young patient’s pulse had returned, but the patient’s respirations were shallow. Escobedo inserted an airway adjunct and assisted ventilations with 15 liters per minute of oxygen using a bag valve mask device. Paramedic Gomez obtained IV access. Lt./ECA Kevin Olivarez arrived and 4 mg of Narcan was administered intra nasal due to the respiratory challenges being experienced by the patient. Cresson’s policies provide for all available personnel to respond to a cardiac arrest in case hands-on CPR is required. Accordingly, Lt/EMT Richard Ward, Lt/ECA Rita Lenig and Firefighters David Hendrix, Joey Falter, and Michael Thompson arrived in short order.

During the successful resuscitation, Hood County Deputies Jonathan Granado, Mel Boschwitz, Aaron Stone, and Sergeant Cathy Boone were very busy providing a safe working environment for the Cresson responders due to a chaotic scene involving verbal and physical altercations between bystanders.

Texas EMS Paramedic Jacob Gutierrez and EMT Michael Alvarado arrived and provided supportive care while transporting the young patient to the hospital. After several days of hospitalization, according to the patient’s brother, he was released with no neurological deficits.

“I recommend recognition of the Cresson responders for their life saving actions, the Hood County Sheriff Deputies — who without their scene control the Cresson lifesaving actions could not have been performed — and the Texas EMS crew who provided essential stabilizing care while transporting the young patient to the hospital,” Becker’s letter states.

Fifteen first responders from the CVFD, HCSO and Texas EMS were recognized June 14, for their lifesaving actions on the morning of May 26. They include Cresson Fire Department responders Samuel Escobedo, Matthew Vaughn, Jerad Gomez, Kevin Olivarez, Richard Ward, Rita Lenig, David Hendrix, Joey Falter, and Michael Thompson; Hood County Sheriff Deputies Jonathan Granado, Mel Boschwitz, Aaron Stone and Sergeant Cathy Boone; and Texas EMS Responders Jacob Gutierrez and Michael Alvarado.

“Virtually all first responders, whether it be the police, fire or ambulance, what we do is just part of the job,” Tom Cowan, chairman of the awards committee for the Chisholm Trail 100 Club said during the event. “We look at it as just doing what we're supposed to do. From the public's perspective and from the perspective of the person who is undergoing an emergency, we're heroes. I think basically to each of us, we're heroes as well, because it takes a special kind of person to put themselves out there and be in a position to help people.”

The Chisholm Trail 100 Club is dedicated to supporting the first responders in the counties of Johnson, Somervell and Hood. Currently, the organization provides up to $80,000 in line of duty accidental death and dismemberment benefits to over 1,985 law enforcement officers, firefighters, correctional officers and emergency medical personnel. The club also provides a benevolence disbursement to the family of an active first responder who dies off-duty. All benefits are 100% paid for by members and corporate donors and are also provided at no cost to the first responders.

The Lifesaver Award acknowledges first responders who performed lifesaving skills on a patient/victim in respiratory arrest or full cardiac arrest, which resulted in the patient being resuscitated and returned home alive. Nominations may include patient, family, department, and community testimonials, commendations and relevant media articles.

Every award recipient was presented with a certificate, a lapel pin and a lifesaving clock with an inscription that reads, “the most precious gift a person can receive is the gift of time with which to live their life.”

According to Becker, the two lifesaving occurrences can largely be credited to the use of a relatively expensive device called a LifePak 15 monitor/defibrillator. In fact, the CVFD was able to purchase this important piece of equipment through the city of Cresson’s remaining American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds.

"The city of Cresson was able to transfer good use of their ARPA funds,” Former Mayor Teena Putteet Conway said. “The specific requirements that you can use them for, the city didn't meet any of them, so we were able to move those funds over to the fire department to buy additional lifesaving equipment. Instead of having one of those units, now we will have four of those units. It's a big deal. You don't make these lifesaving attempts and success stories without the proper equipment.”

Becker thanked the city of Cresson for letting the department acquire additional LifePak 15 units, so they could be placed on different firetrucks. He also recognized Parker County ESD #6 for providing one of the units a few years ago.

"These gentlemen that are here probably wouldn't be here with us had Parker County ESD #6 not provided this piece of equipment to us to use, so you can understand why we're excited to expand our capabilities and get more of those on different trucks,” Becker said. “Those of you who don't know, we do have a railroad crossing in Cresson, and we want to make sure that we're equipped adequately on both sides of that.”

Jon Puryear, EMS CE (continuing education) instructor for the Chisholm Trail 100 Club, also recognized CVFD for its high number of life saves throughout the years.

"We've been on this committee since its inception, but I want you to realize one main thing — that Cresson Fire Department has had by far the most saves,” Puryear said. “I've been in this business for 42 years now (and CVFD has had) six saves. In all the counties and cities that we serve, I have done about five life saves, so I want you to understand what a great department that you have led by Chief Ron Becker.”