Firefighters honored for saving man's life

Photo by Vance Vasquez / NBVC Public Affairs
Capt. Larry Vasquez, commanding officer of Naval Base Ventura County, recently presented a CNIC Life Saving Award to five base firefighters who provided immediate medical treatment to a man who collapsed in October while playing basketball on board Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme. Shown from left are Vasquez and the award recipients: firefighter Michael Thomas, Engineer and Acting Chief Sammy Cardona, firefighter James Madera, firefighter Adrian Orellana, and firefighter James Jones. Fire Chief John Adkins, far right, also attended the Dec. 18 awards ceremony.

Photo by Vance Vasquez / NBVC Public Affairs Capt. Larry Vasquez, commanding officer of Naval Base Ventura County, recently presented a CNIC Life Saving Award to five base firefighters who provided immediate medical treatment to a man who collapsed in October while playing basketball on board Naval Base Ventura County, Port Hueneme. Shown from left are Vasquez and the award recipients: firefighter Michael Thomas, Engineer and Acting Chief Sammy Cardona, firefighter James Madera, firefighter Adrian Orellana, and firefighter James Jones. Fire Chief John Adkins, far right, also attended the Dec. 18 awards ceremony.

The call came in just before 8 on an autumn morning. The dispatcher said a man was down and unresponsive at the basketball courts on Harris Street at Naval Base Ventura County (NBVC) Port Hueneme.

Five firefighters from Station 73 on Patterson Road responded immediately and found the man’s colleagues already performing CPR. The man was not breathing and had no pulse.

But today, the man is alive and well, and the five firefighters who helped save his life were honored last month with a Commander, Navy Installations Command (CNIC) Life Saving Award.

Capt. Larry Vasquez, commanding officer, Naval Base Ventura County, presented the award Tuesday, Dec. 18, to Engineer Sammy Cardona, the acting captain during the Oct. 14 incident, and firefighters Michael Thomas, Adrian Orellana, James Jones and James Madera.

“I’ve been involved with plenty of full cardiac arrests, but this is the first one I know of where the person walked out of the hospital,” Madera said. “Most of them don’t end that way.”

Madera credited the man’s colleagues with having the immediate presence of mind to call 911 and initiating CPR.

“They deserve as much credit as anybody for saving the man’s life,” he said. “They started working on him the minute he went down. They deserve a ton of credit.”

There were other factors at work, he added.

“In his favor, the man was young,” he explained. “There was somebody there to respond immediately. The response time by the ambulance was quick, and we’re fairly close to the hospital.”

As soon as they arrived at the basketball courts, the firefighters determined the man had no pulse. They made sure his airway was clear, set up oxygen, took over the chest compressions and got him out of his sweatshirt so they could apply the defibrillation pads.

“We worked quickly to get as much done as we could before the advanced life support ambulance arrived,” Madera explained. “There’s more manpower on scene and there’s more room to work.”

Firefighters Thomas and Orellana continued to perform CPR in the ambulance as it headed to the hospital.

In all, the firefighters performed CPR for 45 minutes and used the defibrillator five times.

“Their diligent efforts eventually paid off, as they were able to restore his heartbeat just prior to turning him over to the emergency room staff at St. John’s Hospital,” said Fire Chief John Adkins. “The basic criteria for a CNIC Life Saving Award is that the patient had no viable heartbeat on arrival and the efforts put forth restored vital functions to the point where the victim survived for at least 24 hours. In this case, the man is well on his way to making a full recovery.”

Madera called the case “awesome.”

“It’s the best outcome possible,” he said. “It’s exciting. We all show up to work every day hoping to make a difference.”

© 2013 Ventura County Star. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Commanding Officer

CAPT. LARRY VASQUEZ

Chief Staff Officer

CAPT. SCOTT LOESCHKE

Lighthouse Editor

ANDREA HOWRY, 805-989-5281

Public Affairs Officer

KIMBERLY GEARHART
Ventura County Star - 805-437-0000

Publisher

MARGIE COCHRANE, Ventura County Star

Niche Publications

JOHN GARCIA, 805-437-0365

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The Lighthouse publishes every other Thursday. All stories and photos must be submitted no later than the Thursday prior to publication. To submit a story or photo request, call the Lighthouse editor, Andrea Howry, at 989-5281 or send an e-mail to lighthouse@navy.mil.
THE LIGHTHOUSE IS PUBLISHED AT NO COST TO THE GOVERNMENT EVERY FRIDAY BY VENTURA COUNTY STAR, OF CAMARILLO, CA. VENTURA COUNTY STAR IS A PRIVATE FIRM IN NO WAY CONNECTED WITH THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE OR THE UNITED STATES NAVY, UNDER WRITTEN CONTRACT WITH NAVAL BASE VENTURA COUNTY. THE LIGHTHOUSE IS THE ONLY AUTHORIZED CIVILIAN ENTERPRISE NEWSPAPER FOR MEMBERS OF THE U.S. NAVY, CIVILIAN EMPLOYEES, RETIREES AND THEIR FAMILY MEMBERS IN THE VENTURA COUNTY AREA. CONTENTS OF THE PAPER ARE NOT NECESSARILY THE OFFICIAL VIEWS OF, NOR ENDORSED BY, THE U.S. GOVERNMENT, AND THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, OR THE DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY AND DO NOT IMPLY ENDORSEMENT THEREOF. THE APPEARANCE OF ADVERTISING IN THIS PUBLICATION INCLUDING INSERTS AND SUPPLEMENTS, DOES NOT CONSTITUTE ENDORSEMENT OF THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE, THE U.S. NAVY OR VENTURA COUNTY STAR, OF THE PRODUCTS OR SERVICES ADVERTISED. EVERYTHING ADVERTISED IN THIS PUBLICATION SHALL BE MADE AVAILABLE FOR PURCHASE, USE OR PATRONAGE WITHOUT REGARD TO RACE, COLOR, RELIGION, SEX, NATIONAL ORIGIN, AGE, MARITAL STATUS, PHYSICAL HANDICAP, POLITICAL AFFILIATION, OR ANY OTHER NON-MERIT FACTOR OF THE PURCHASER, USE, OR PATRON. IF A VIOLATION OR REJECTION OF THIS EQUAL OPPORTUNITY POLICY BY AN ADVERTISER IS CONFIRMED, THE PUBLISHER SHALL REFUSE TO PRINT ADVERTISING FROM THAT SOURCE UNTIL THE VIOLATION IS CORRECTED. EDITORIAL CONTENT IS EDITED, PREPARED AND PROVIDED TO THE PUBLISHER BY THE LOCAL INSTALLATION PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICES UNDER THE AUSPICES OF THE NAVAL BASE VENTURA COUNTY PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE.
NSWC Port Hueneme and representatives from eight allied, international navies joined forces on April 7 to establish a unified strategic plan for modernizing and sustaining the MK 41 Vertical Launching System (VLS) on a global scale, yielding enhanced worldwide fleet readiness and collective maritime strength against ever-evolving threats.
Thursday, April 10, 2014
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