While heroic firefighters lose their lives each year attempting the rescue of those trapped, many more of us lose our lives due to heart attacks and related medical emergencies. This month, a fire captain in Michigan responds, like any of us do regularly, to a house fire, but this time, the...
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Any chest discomfort must be addressed immediately. There is no time to waste. The longer one waits during a heart attack, the more heart muscle is permanently damaged. Furthermore, the longer one waits, the more chance there is that the heart will go into ventricular tachycardia, the lethal heart rhythm disturbance called "sudden death." This lethal arrhythmia causes 300,000 sudden deaths in Americans every year and for most the first symptom is death. They suddenly collapse and need to be shocked (defibrillated). Most of the cases of sudden death occur in people having heart attacks even if they don't realize they are having chest pain.
WILLIAM GOLDFEDER, EFO, a FirehouseÂ® contributing editor, is a 33-year veteran of the fire service. He is a deputy chief with the Loveland-Symmes Fire Department in Ohio, an ISO Class 2 and CAAS-accredited department. Goldfeder has been a chief officer since 1982, has served on numerous IAFC and NFPA committees, and is a past commissioner with the Commission on Fire Accreditation International. He is a graduate of the Executive Fire Officer Program at the National Fire Academy and is an active writer, speaker and instructor on fire service operational issues. Goldfeder and Gordon Graham host the free and noncommercial firefighter safety and survival website www.FirefighterCloseCalls.com. Goldfeder may be contacted at BillyG@FirefighterCloseCalls.com.