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Firefighters reunite those who suffered cardiac arrest with first responders

COURTESY PHOTOS: CLACKAMAS FIRE - Clackamas firefighter Brett Glover and Oak Grove resident Michael Terreri, 9, celebrate helping each other save Michael's father's life.Clackamas Fire held its eighth Chain of Survival Celebration and challenge coin presentation Oct. 7 at Providence Willamette Falls Community Center in Oregon City.

The celebration honored 13 cardiac arrest survivors and recognized the individuals involved in saving their lives. The phrase "chain of survival" was coined to describe a series of events that if strung together and performed in a timely manner, greatly improves the chances of survival from sudden cardiac arrest in an out-of-hospital setting.

Clackamas County sheriff's deputies Adam Taylor and Scott Krause, who are flanking Oak Grove cardiac arrest survivor Dominic Terreri, supported by members of his family, attend the Oct. 7 event in Oregon City.Steps in saving a person having a heart attack include identifying the medical emergency, taking immediate action by calling 911, administering hands-only CPR, defibrillation with an AED (if available), advanced life support by first responders, and post-cardiac arrest care by the hospital. As a result of all of these steps, the "chain of survival" is unbroken.

"The survivors have been given a second chance at life, thanks in part to the quick and selfless actions of bystanders, their loved ones and trained professionals," said Brandon Paxton, Clackamas Fire spokesman. "The celebration is an opportunity to reunite survivors with their rescuers, demonstrate the importance in how the steps in the chain increase survival, and to celebrate life."

Michael Terreri writes a thank-you letter to firefighters for rescuing his father during a cardiac arrest.Among the attendees of the Oct. 7 event was Oak Grove resident Dominic Terreri, who survived a heart attack Feb. 21. He was asleep in bed next to his wife, Christy, when she woke up to find him making noises. She initially thought he was experiencing sleep apnea, according to a report by Clackamas Fire Medical Services Chief Josh Santos.

"Christy waking up to witness Dominic's cardiac arrest is a miracle," Santos said. "Today Dominic is enjoying his wife and children more than ever, he and his wife have started their own construction company, and they feel they have a new lease on life."

Christy called 911, and Clackamas County dispatcher Liz Bailey told her she needed to get him down to the ground and begin CPR. Dominic and Christy's 9-year-old son, Michael, heard noises in his parent's bedroom.

"Brave, young Michael heard Deputies Adam Taylor and Scott Krause at the door, let them in and showed them to the room where his mother was performing CPR on his dad," Santos said. "Michael then went back to the door a few minutes later to let the firefighters and paramedics in, where they began advanced life-support treatment. The crews were able to get Dominic's heart started again on scene. He was transported to Sunnyside Kaiser where he received further treatment, and was amazingly discharged to go home only three days later. "

Once the firefighters and paramedics took over CPR and advanced life-support treatment, Taylor took Michael into another room to be away from the trauma and made him a balloon.

"Michael was very proud to share that information," Santos said.

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