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ADF cardiac arrest victim meets with firefighter rescuers

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Team Buckley firefighters meet with cardiac arrest victim Dean Grover (center) for the first time since they saved his life May 26. The firefighters are (from left to right) Doug Collins, Chief Dennis Hoke, Jeff Santomango and Jeremy Collette. All have emergency medical technician training; Chief Hoke is also a paramedic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erika Brooke)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Team Buckley firefighters meet with cardiac arrest victim Dean Grover (center) for the first time since they saved his life May 26. The firefighters are (from left to right) Doug Collins, Chief Dennis Hoke, Jeff Santomango and Jeremy Collette. All have emergency medical technician training; Chief Hoke is also a paramedic. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Erika Brooke)

BUCKLEY AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- When the firefighters reached him, Dean Grover was already dead. The 45-year-old contractor at the Aerospace Data Facility was in cardiac arrest, had no heartbeat and was not breathing. Despite this, he was in good hands.

"We had no idea what the call was when we arrived," said Buckley Fire Chief Dennis Hoke, a firefighter and paramedic, "But we always take equipment for the worst - a cardiac arrest."

By the time the firefighters arrived, the ADF first responder team was performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation and had already shocked Mr. Grover twice with their automated external defibrillator. Moving Mr. Grover to the hallway, the firefighters quickly took over from the first responders.

"When we got there, he was in ventricular fibrillation," Chief Hoke said. "We shocked him, continued rescue breathing and got a pulse back."

On the way to the hospital, Mr. Grover began to breathe on his own.

"That was when I knew there was going to be a good outcome," Chief Hoke said, "because that doesn't usually happen."

Not only was the outcome good, but Mr. Grover made a complete recovery with no brain damage, returning to work six weeks later. He met with the team who saved his life for the first time (while conscious) Aug. 20.

"I want to say thanks; I hope I cooperated as much as I could at the time," Mr. Grover said, smiling warmly at his rescuers.

He and his wife, Samantha, shared a cake with members of the Buckley Fire Department A Shift, including the five-person team who saved Mr. Grover's life.

"Their actions were certainly heroic as far as our family is concerned," Mrs. Grover said.

In addition to Chief Hoke, the team included Assistant Chief Steve Zigan, Jeff Santomango, Doug Collins and Jeremy Collette, all of whom have emergency medical technician training. Mr. Grover also extended his thanks to the first responders at the ADF, who administered early care which Chief Hoke credits for Mr. Grover's textbook-perfect recovery.

"He's really the poster child for early CPR and early electricity," Chief Hoke said. "We've made a point to work well with the ADF to prepare for emergencies like this one."

Buckley is one of five Air Force bases whose firefighters have advanced life-support training.

"It may cost us $15,000 each year, but when you see someone walking around after a heart attack, the medical training is worth every penny," Chief Hoke said.

Mrs. Grover agreed.

"We were very lucky (Mr. Grover) works on Buckley," she said. "If this had happened somewhere else, he might not have made it."
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