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Division Chief, VB Emergency Medical Services
Fmr Instruction Supervisor in Training Div.
EMS volunteer for 23 years
A National Registry Paramedic
Fmr Virginia Beach Rescue Council President
BS, Business Admin & Marketing Mgt, Fordham University
Co-Founder of Volunteer Rescue Squads
Married to Michelle with three children
EVERYBODY IS SOMEBODY’S SOMEBODY
Chief Nedelka has been in the EMS field for many years, and one vivid memory helps explain why. On Christmas day many years ago when he was just a young boy, he and his family were in Florida when they received a frantic call from his grandmother. His grandfather, a 49-year veteran of the New York Fire Department and Battalion Chief, had collapsed. But she also said that some people were there – probably off-duty police officers or firemen – and they were “jumping on his chest.” They were administering CPR, and it was their efforts that greatly helped to revive him and give Bruce and his family six more years of life with their grandfather.
This was in the early days of CPR. Chief Nedelka says without their intervention his grandfather wouldn’t have survived.
The way they felt is the way everyone does. “Everybody is somebody’s somebody,” he says, meaning that each person is special to someone. “When you make the difference in someone’s life, you change the destiny of a family.” It is a tremendous feeling.
When the EMS responds to a call Chief Nedelka says, they are often struck by the frightened look or emotional stress on the face of someone who sees a loved one go down.
When reporting emergencies, call 911 (or an ambulance/ or your local emergency number). Remember to speak clearly and calmly giving your name, the address of where the emergency is, and telephone number from where you are calling; Give the nature of the emergency: Request EMS, Police, and/or Fire. Be prepared to stay on the phone to answer any questions or receive important instructions from the emergency dispatcher.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
Seeing someone collapse can be a scary experience. But in an emergency there are some major things you can do to help. Key things to remember if you see someone go down:
1.) Call 911 for an ambulance (or your local emergency responder). Provide the appropriate information – breathing or not breathing, etc. Many 911 dispatchers are trained to take you through immediate CPR. The emergency response can be different according to the nature of the collapse. If the victim is having a seizure, make sure there is nothing in their mouth. NEVER put your finger or spoons or anything else in their mouth. Make sure they are protected from injury. If they’re near a fireplace, use pillows to buffer them. Move away the furniture, put soft pillows around them, etc.
2.) Plan in advance what you will do. Just like taking a test in school, Chief Nedelka says you are calmer when you have prepared and studied for it. We pre-plan and rehearse for a hurricane. A big storm will be frightening, but if you remember the plan things go a bit easier. Do the same in responding to emergencies.
3.) In case of collapse, always remember your ABCs. A – Airway. The victim must have a clear airway. Make sure it is open and clear. B – Breathe. Make sure they are breathing, breathe for them using mouth-to-mouth or preferably mouth-to-barrier (a plastic shield) resuscitation. C – Circulation. Check for a heartbeat. If there is no heart beat, use an AED (Automatic External Defibrillator) if available. If not, begin emergency procedures for CPR, if you know them. Call out for help (this is in addition to phoning 911). Someone may hear you and stop to help.
People must remember that even with the best efforts of responders, equipment, experience, and training, not all outcomes are good. It can be a matter of just “being that person’s time.”
CPR IN THREE SIMPLE STEPS
If you believe someone is in cardiac arrest, do not panic. Follow the three simple steps of CPR and save a life.
Continue with two breaths and 30 pumps until help arrives. This 3-step process is effective in many situations in cardiac arrest.
A caring friend will be there to pray with you in your time of need.