Survivalist Forum banner

1 - 9 of 9 Posts

Premium Member
1,950 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I was still mulling about the house not quite fully awake, but getting there after the beautiful breakfast my wife cooked. (Waffles and bacon - yum yum). It was like this most Sunday mornings. Slow to get going, but you were supposed to take it slow on Sundays. Right?

I went to go collect my clothes and get into the bathroom for my shower when my fire pager goes off. (beep beep beep) Man down – two blocks over from me. I grab my wallet, keys, slip into my hiking boots and hit the door. Once again I forget to say bye to my son or wife. They know I love them, words would just be ceremony. The car is already packed with my kit and my fire gear in the trunk. I need nothing else.

I get to the car and down the block in seconds. I hear in the two way radio the call of my brothers saying that they are on the way, but I know I will be the first one there. A quick scan of the house numbers reveals that I turn right. Within a few more seconds I am at the house. No one is in the street, it’s Sunday morning after all. It is strangely quite. There is usually someone at the road flagging you down as you pass by. I reach into the car kit for my medical kit and grab the CPR mask.

I jog to the front door and knock sharply on the front glass door. “Fire Department!!” I yell. I am standing there in a t-shirt, blue jean shorts and hiking boots. Definitely a little bedraggled to say the least. We are a volunteer fire department and even though my full turnout gear is in the trunk, on a medical call sometimes getting there is more important than what you are wearing. The inside door is slightly ajar and I look inside. An older man is straddling a younger man attempting chest compressions while talking on the telephone to the 911 operator. I fling open the glass door and kneel beside the man.

“Fire Department, can I help?” I didn’t really have to ask that. When you are called and someone is down and non-responsive it is called “implied consent”. It means that their permission for you to treat them is assumed and legally given. I pop open the CPR mask case. Inside I have one of the CPR masks that the department has given out on several occasions and a rolled up pair of gloves. The department will replace this mask and gloves for me later. As I am putting on the gloves, I shake the man’s shoulder and yell, “How long has he been down?”

The older man who is having a slow time getting up says, “I found him like this here this morning.” He has no shirt on. I touch his shoulder again. There was a little warmth. I move his arm to his side so I can get closer. Riggermortis had not set in. I open his air way by lifting his chin, feel his carotid artery for a pulse, and look listen and feel for a breath for several seconds. Nothing. A thought races through my head, “God give me strength to do this on my own.” I grab the CPR mask and place it on his face.

“Josiah!” I hear the creak of the door and a firefighter was coming through the door. I blow…..once ….. then twice. “2532 and 2520 on scene. Man down. CPR in progress. Establishing command,” the new arrival says on his two way radio. Mine had been left in the car in the rush. The man breathed oddly back at me. The one way valve on the CPR mask directed his breath away from my mouth. I look up as the firefighter makes it to my side. It is Brad. He is younger, a little more talkative than I like and aggravating at times, but right now that doesn’t matter. Right now, he and I know that there is a bigger job to do that will not wait. Right now he and I have a brother.

I sum up the situation in a few words. “No breath, no pulse.” Brad places his hands on the man’s chest and counts as he compresses the man’s heart in his chest. “One and Two and Three and Four …..” counted Brad aloud. Knowing that Brad is going to 30 I have a few seconds. I ask the older man. “Has he taken anything? Is he on any medicine?” My eyes go over his body. I ask myself: Is there any bleeding? Is there anything that stands out as wrong? Nothing to be seen.

“I don’t know,” came the older man’s voice.

“28 and 29 and 30 ….” I breathe air into the stranger’s lungs once ……. then twice.

“1 and 2 and 3 and 4 and ……,” we continued on.

I looked at the man’s airway and his tongue. He gurgles back as the compressions are given. “Is he breathing?” the older man asks. I did notice on the last breaths it was hard to push the air into the man’s lungs. I finger sweep his mouth and nothing was felt.

I answer, “No sir we are breathing for him.” I put the mask back and reposition his head.

“28 and 29 and 30,” came Brad’s voice.

Breathe ……. and again. “1 and 2 and 3 and ….”

“2501 in route to scene!” came over the radio. We know that it is our medical engine packed with basic medical gear and there would be at least 3 more members on board.

A female voice answers back, “10-4 2501. Be advised 2 members already on scene. CPR in progress.”

Time fades to bits of counting and breaths until the radio calls back 2501 on scene reporting to command.” Within seconds the glass door bursts open. More brothers began to step in to help. Jack runs to Brad’s side who had the harder of the two jobs and taps his sholder. “I will get this.” Jack works at the hospital and is experienced as well.

Brad’s count ends with, “……28 and 29 and 30.” I breathe twice more as the new man steps up to the role of compressions. Jack now begins to count, “1 and 2 and 3 and…..”

“Josiah, are you ok?” someone asks.

“Yeah just get the AMBU bag.” A few more moments pass and an AMBU bag is passed to me. I find it a little harder to blow air into the man’s lungs so I reposition his head and airway and blow again.
We hook up and AED and let it take a reading. A few seconds later it talks and says, “No shock advised. Resume CPR.” I push air into his lungs twice more and once again the count continues, “1 and 2 and 3 and …..”

The ambulance arrives equipped with a full ACLS setup. A paramedic is now on hand to start an IV and start pushing drugs. One of the ambulance EMT’s hooks oxygen to the AMBU bag boosting its effectiveness. My knees are hurting. The adrenaline is wearing off. Better equipped and more experienced people are here. I think about asking for help.

“Josiah, you have been here the whole time. Let these guys take over,” comes someone’s voice. I look at the EMT that hooked up the AMBU bag.

“Can you get this?” I ask.

“Got it,” he says simply. I stand up and walk outside to speak to the Law Enforcement Officers. After telling the officer how I found the body, about the two cigarette lighters found and nothing else out of the ordinary; I go back in to help move the body to the ambulance. Seconds later he is on his way to the hospital, but it is not looking good for there are no signs of positive response from the patient.

We clean up the scene removing various items used such as wrappers for syringes, IV’s and electrodes. The CPR masks were thrown away and other odds and ends were disposed of so the family members would not have to clean it up.

We dispose of our protective gloves and wash our hands with antibacterial “GermX” then soap and water. We start to finish up the paperwork when our pagers go off again. Over the radio a female voice is heard. “7501 7501 please respond. Man down. Man down. 123 Barney Lane.” People are already moving heading for the truck and their personally owned vehicles.

I jump in my car and position my car right behind the firetruck as we pull out of the neighborhood. Within 2 minutes we are on scene. The firetruck pulls in oddly and then straightens out next to a house. I jump out of the car and throw my keys into the seat so other members can move my vehicle if it becomes necessary.

I did not hear the street numbers well so I ask to Roy, a newer younger firefighter, who just got down from the truck, “Which one is it?”

The weirdest look comes across his face. “Mine,” he says as he points to the house in front of the truck.

I grab his arm, snap him out of it and throw him toward his front door. “Go!!! I am right behind you.”

He runs through his front door. His little 7 year old brother is on the phone near the front door crying. Suddenly he realizes the only other person at the house is missing. “Granny!! Granny!!” he yells as he goes room to room. He finds her at the back door on the floor.

Once again the drill of the CPR/First Responder training kicks in. He immediately grabs her arm and attempts to flip her over. “Wait Roy. Log roll her.” I place my hands on both sides of her neck and hold C-spine stabilization as he places a hand on her hips and shoulder and roll her on her back.

I tilt her head back and look listen and feel for a pulse or breath. Nothing. I look at his 7 year old brother and then to Roy as other firefighters come in, “Get him out of here.” This gets the younger boy out of the way (not to mention sparing him the sight of us working on his grandmother), but it also gets Roy out of the way since he is directly involved with the patient and whose judgment might be impaired by that.

We turn back to the task at hand and start unpacking the equipment. Within seconds my breath becomes her breath. Her heart is forced to move blood. The grace they we have are willingly offered to her. This is the second time we have tried with extreme effort to pull back one who was leaving us.

Minutes later she too is on her way to the hospital. This time, her heart is beating back to us granting a slight hope that our efforts were not in vain. She lived for a week more actually regaining consciousness for a very brief time. Maybe this was just a small gift to say goodbye.

Roy thanks us later. He took extra effort to talk to us one by one, but no thanks were needed. He was our brother and her a person in need.

1,187 Posts

been there, done that.
It's the greatest feeling in the world to save a life,I did it twice and the worst feeling to not be able to save one.I was a volunteer in the florida keys and it was the most rewarding,exciting thing I have ever done.
if there is a volunteer fire dept. near you I would recommend everyone signing will make the closest, most loyal friends you have ever had.

69 Posts
The worst calls are for the ones we know and love. Growing up in a small town where everyone knew each other that was at least to some degree everyone. The longest 2 minute ride of my life was in the rescue truck responding to my brothers house for my the 2 year old nephew choking on a Lego. At 18 he is now getting ready to transition from explorer post to full department. Thanks for a great story!

5,791 Posts
At my last CPR class I asked what the save rate w a s, I knew it was low I was thinking maybe 30 percent. It is more like three percent.
Last year my mom was picked up by an ambulance. They had to stop and work on her before they made it to the hospital. Then had to transfer to a bigger hospital. Pretty scary.
1 - 9 of 9 Posts