SPARKS, Nev. -- A local man is alive today because of the quick thinking of an off-duty firefighter and his knowledge of new CPR guidelines. Are you aware of the changes that could save someone's life?
It was a typical Sunday afternoon for Richard Norton as he was driving home from work.
"I was informed that I just slumped over my vehicle and it decided to go wherever it wanted to go at that point and hit a few curbs and ended up against and iron gate," he said.
He had suffered a heart attack. Fortunately, an off-duty firefighter was in the right place at the right time.
"I pulled him out of the vehicle and set him on the ground. He began to breath agonolly, but he still didn't have a palpable force so I had to start doing compressions on him," Chad Richards, Fire Apparatus Operator said.
Agonol breaths mean abnormal breathing such as gasping or labored breathing. It was a clear indication that Norton needed medical attention.
Anyone who has taken CPR training will know you're supposed to open the airway first, but luckily for Norton, Richards knew he needed to get the blood pumping.
Instead of using the traditional ABC (Airway, Breathing, Circulation) method, which focuses on breathing, Richards used the new CAB (Circulation, Airway, Breathing) approach which focuses on compression.
"To come away with something this traumatic and then have the doctors tell me that you're good to go," Norton said. "I can't do enough for Chad."
These techniques are simple enough; almost anyone can help.
The first thing you should do is check for scene safety and call the paramedics. In the meantime, check for a pulse to see if they have a circulation, check to see if their airway is open , and see if their chest is rising and falling to indicate that they are breathing.
Richards says keeping the blood circulating is more effective than helping the victim breathe.
"People can start that CPR and buying valuable time so he can get to the emergency room and cardiologist, that's the important part," he said.
For his quick thinking, FAO Chad Richards will be honored at the Red Cross Real Heroes breakfast on March 28 at the Atlantis Casino Resort Spa.
To learn more about how to get CPR certified, click on the link below.