Sadly, this morning my good neighbor, Jerry, of almost 30 years died of a heart attack. I was leaving the house to go running when I noticed another neighbor waving her arms to attract the paramedics that were just responding to a 911 call. Seeing that the professionals were on the scene, and not wanting to get in the way, I just sat in my yard to see what would happen. Shortly Jerry was transported out of the house while an EMT did chest compressions (not a good sign). Apparently he had a heart attack, his wife did not know what to do, she ran next door for help, and got another person that did not know what to do. They did call 911, but in the interim did nothing. All this time emergency oxygen and a trained responder were directly across the street. Later in the day Jerry’s son informed me that he didn’t make it. A loss for his family and the community as well. I won’t imply that I could have changed the outcome, but those critical minutes from heart attack to professional response can literally be the difference between life and death depending on the actions taken by those present.
I feel a bit of guilt because I didn’t make my neighbors aware that emergency oxygen and assistance was readily available, but that is sort of hindsight and not very productive. I do plan to make that information well known and to offer free CPR training to all of my neighbors, and here is the reason for sending out this message to all of you. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of emergency first aide and CPR training to all family members. Most of us in the diving community are pretty safety conscious, and usually never need to use our emergency skills for diving related emergencies. Those skills, however, can save a life if a trained first responder just happens to be around when something happens. So my message is first to make sure you and all your family members are properly trained, and then communicate this need within your communities. This just might save a life, and it could be someone close to you.
Thanks for listening,