By Ms. Mary Ann Davis (IMCOM)January 18, 2018
MANNHEIM, Germany -- U.S. Army Garrison Rheinland-Pfalz Directorate of Emergency Services firefighters and Army contractors at Coleman Work Site responded to a medical emergency last month to revive a 24-year-old contractor found unconscious without a pulse.
Ricki Ricci and Otis Bell, quality control contractors with URS Corporation, found coworker Edward Ross unresponsive on the floor where they worked, Dec. 14.
"We were told that (Ross) fainted and that the ambulance was called. He was on his side, so we turned him over and saw that his face was blue," Bell explained. "Ricki took his pulse and couldn't find a heartbeat -- so, we knew we had to perform CPR."
Ricci, an Army medic with 17 years active-duty experience that currently serves in the reserves, began the chest compressions, while Bell, a former Army communications specialist, performed rescue breathing. After three rounds of CPR, emergency responders from USAG RP reached the scene.
"Upon arrival, the crew found the patient unconscious and couldn't find signs of any vital functions," said Assistant Fire Chief Thomas Rothmann of S-7 Division. "The patient's coworkers had conducted CPR, which was taken over by our crew."
It is critical to maintain oxygen and blood flow to the brain and other organs during a cardiac arrest episode, Rothmann said.
"While keeping oxygen and blood flowing with CPR, the crew quickly attached a defibrillator to the patient," he explained. "After a shock was delivered to the patient, his heart began beating."
At that point, the patient was monitored until an ambulance and emergency physician arrived, but had to receive another shock after he suffered cardiac arrest a second time. Once the patient was stabilized, he was transported to the Klinikum Mannheim for treatment.
The responding team, Matthias Bieringer, Juergen Wekesser and Bernhard Weidenauer, have more than 90 years of experience between them and can handle almost any situation.
"We didn't know if he would survive, but we did the best we could to save him," said Weidenauer, a crew chief. "Our continuous training made it possible to provide the best help to the patient. We are confident in what we do because of our training."
His teammates agreed that their years of training made all the difference.
"I'm new on this team, but because of the training I've received so far, I felt very confident in what we did. I also relied on the training and experience I received when I was a volunteer firefighter as well," said Wekesser, who joined the USAG RP Fire Department team last year.
"It was a good feeling knowing that we helped someone survive," said Bieringer, a crew chief and firefighter for 30 years. "I received training as an emergency medical technician, which made it possible for me to provide the help that I did."
Rothmann and Assistant Fire Chief Heinz Dresleras said they are proud of the teamwork and professionalism demonstrated by the firefighters every day.
"We are proud of our firefighters, they answered the call at a moment's notice and performed world-class service when it was needed by saving a life. Firefighters are willing to risk their own lives at any time, day or night and always have the desire to serve, the ability to perform and the courage to act," Rothmann said about his crew.
"Firefighting as well as rescue is always a team effort," Dresleras added. "We never act as single individuals -- only as a team. This is what makes us strong and successful."
Thanks to the contractors' and firefighters' swift response and expertise, the patient received a pace maker and is recovering well.
"I'm grateful and proud to be part of the garrison's fire and emergency services team, and that goes for Station 6, Coleman as well. Their selfless attitude and willingness to go the extra mile to ensure the mission is supported is very admirable," the chief said. "Each day, firefighters come to work ready to perform, eager to support the mission, and strive to train and reinforce their already excellent knowledge. I'm grateful for them each day, and I couldn't ask for a better team of firefighters."