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Chain of Survival Celebration takes place April 24 in Providence Willamette Falls Community Center

This week Clackamas Fire was able to reunite survivors and rescuers, giving them the opportunity to meet one another formally and to celebrate life after eight cardiac-arrest victims were recently resuscitated and survived neurologically intact.

PHOTO COURTESY: CLACKAMAS FIRE TRAINING TECHNICIAN AUSTIN THIELE - Survivor Greg Boney with (from left) Austen Sawzek, Bill Conway, Bryan Person, Kiersten Cormican, Firefighter Brandon Poppert, Apparatus Operator Jamen Lahodny and Fred Charlton.Clackamas Fire officials hosted the event at part of their sixth Chain of Survival Celebration and challenge coin presentation on Tuesday, April 24, at the Providence Willamette Falls Community Center in Oregon City.

The celebration honored those in the chain of survival who participated in the eight "saves," which included numerous individuals involved in the treatment of the survivors. Chain-of-survival participants included firefighters, bystanders who performed CPR prior to emergency crew arrival, Clackamas County 911 dispatchers who encouraged and coached bystander CPR, and officials from American Medical Response, Happy Valley Code Enforcement, Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, Milwaukie Police Department and Oregon City Police Department.

The cardiac arrest saves were made possible because "someone recognized there was a medical emergency, they took immediate action, called 911, someone started hands-only CPR and our emergency dispatchers quickly dispatched our incredible first responders; and as a result, the chain was unbroken," said Clackamas Fire Division Chief Bill Conway.

PHOTO COURTESY: CLACKAMAS FIRE TRAINING TECHNICIAN AUSTIN THIELE - Survivor Richard Betschart (from left) with Clackamas Fire Division Chief Bill Conway, Jody Caprino, Josh Miller, Alex Miller, Lt. Zach Brown, Firefighter AJ Stuck, Lt. Mark Corless, Apparatus Operator Brent Coffey, Milwaukie Police Department Officer Eric Charron and Clackamas Fire Chief Fred Charlton.Each year, more than 350,000 cardiac arrests occur outside a hospital setting in the United States. According to the American Heart Association, the national survival rate from these incidents is less than 10 percent.

Conway points out that CPR is crucial to keeping the blood flow active — even partially — thereby extending the opportunity for a successful resuscitation once trained medical staff arrive. When community members are willing and able to provide CPR and Automated External Defibrillators (AED) are readily available, chances of a patient surviving a cardiac arrest event increases significantly.

Fire Chief Fred Charlton said, "All too often our first responders and citizen heroes who help save a life aren't able to reunite with the victim. The Chain of Survival Celebration brings rescuers and survivors together and demonstrates how important calling 911, learning hands-only CPR, accessing an AED and providing advanced care is to ensure life goes on."

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