Rescue Lines – Winter 2014/15 – Bystander CPR Saves a Life on the Va. Beach Boardwalk

DerekFullerIt was the Friday night of Labor Day weekend, and the Virginia Beach Boardwalk was packed for the American Music Festival and country artist Hunter Hayes, who would take the stage later that night.

Derek Fuller (pictured at right), a member of Princess Anne Courthouse Volunteer Rescue Squad since 2010, as well as an employee of a local events company, was working a security post nearby when he heard some commotion at 6th Street.

“I turned around, and there was a man on the ground,” he recalls. “I got to him within seconds, and two nurses were helping him already – one, a school nurse from Chesapeake who was walking by with her family, and another who was out with his friends.”

After a basic assessment, it was clear the man was in cardiac arrest. One nurse started compressions while the other managed the airway; Fuller provided ventilation with his pocket facemask. Meanwhile, Fuller’s supervisor called 9-1-1 and cleared the area.

CoverStory_CPRPic“One great thing about working for an event company is that we know how to create space when it’s needed,” says Fuller. “We set up a perimeter with a bike rack so first responders could get to us quickly.”

Police arrived first, followed by EMS “Cart 5,” an ATV vehicle with a stretcher and other medical equipment that often patrols major special events.

With the help of an automated external defibrillator (AED), the man was sitting up and talking within minutes, asking first responders what happened.

“Going into cardiac arrest is never a good thing, but this man was in the right place at the right time, only a few feet away from three people who knew what to do,” recalls Fuller. “For us to see him walking and talking before he left… that was an amazing feeling.”

This incident was a good reminder to all of the importance of becoming CPR certified.

“CPR truly saves lives, and certification is easy,” notes Fuller. “Most sudden cardiac arrests happen in the home, and people need to know how to help their loved ones. I am so happy we were there for this man in his time of need.”