HEMSI invites survivors to EMS appreciation event - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

HEMSI invites survivors to EMS appreciation event

Emergency personnel were thanked for their service to the community Wednesday. Emergency personnel were thanked for their service to the community Wednesday.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

It's EMS Appreciation Week, and HEMSI held an event Wednesday to celebrate its workers and emergency responders in the Tennessee Valley.

Barbecue was served, and several responders were recognized for their service.

HEMSI also honored two survivors who were saved by community members knowing and using hands-only CPR.

Kenneth Garner suffered cardiac arrest in February. His heart stopped and he couldn't breathe. His life was saved because his wife called 911 and began administering CPR until paramedics arrived.

"It was at least 30 years ago that we took it," Garner said. "It still worked, for her and for me too."

HEMSI Medical Director Sherrie Squyres said they are also celebrating the fact that HEMSI's cardiac arrest survival rate is about 40 percent. She said that is much higher than the average.

Another person honored was a 3-year-old who almost drowned in a pool. A woman nearby knew hands-on CPR and began the life-saving procedure.

The child's family was told she would have permanent brain damage, but she is a normal, healthy 3-year-old today.

"Huntsville Fire is fast, and we are fast," said HEMSI worker James Trevino. "But someone who is there that sees someone go down, as soon as they start those compressions, they can build up the blood pressure to keep the brain oxygenated - and make the outcome a whole lot better."

If you would like to be able to save a life during a dire situation, the Red Cross offers courses and learning materials about hands-only CPR.

Copyright 2014 WAFF. All rights reserved.

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