Cumberland Times-News

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February 22, 2012

For stricken man at YMCA, it all works out

With help of AED, exercising city firefighters, paramedic save area resident’s life

CUMBERLAND — Deputy Chief Bobby Long of the Cumberland Fire Department was working out at the YMCA  and chatting with an old friend about their golf outings to Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The next minute, Long was working to save his friend’s life.

Shortly after noon Tuesday, the 61-year-old local man collapsed in a locker room shower at the Cumberland YMCA on Kelly Road.

Other YMCA visitors discovered the victim when he collapsed in apparent cardiac arrest.

Long ran to the main desk at the YMCA to retrieve the facility’s automated external defibrillator. At the same time, he used his department-issued, two-way radio to notify his department and the Allegany County 911 center of the emergency.

“They told me at the desk the AED was already back there. I ran to the locker room and other people had apparently started CPR.

“As we got there, they backed away and let us in. Paramedic Dennis Steiding started compressions and I put the AED on him (the patient). The device analyzed and gave the message to administer a shock.

“Dennis stopped the compressions and I shocked the patient one time and he came back. He returned to a viable rhythm and started blinking,” said Long.

Long, Steiding, city firefighter/EMT Margaret McDonald and Loudoun County (Va.) firefighter Amber McKiddy continued to render aid until a city ambulance crew and engine company arrived to take over the emergency.

The patient was taken to the Western Maryland Regional Medical Center where he was admitted.

Tuesday night, Long stopped by to see his golfing buddy.

“He was in great spirits and he expressed his gratitude. It was good to see him like that,” said Long. “This was a fluke thing. Luckily, there were a couple of us there and we got to him quickly.”

Cumberland Fire Chief Donnie Dunn cited the value of the city’s physical fitness program and the YMCA allowing the firefighters to work out there.

“This worked out to everyone’s benefit with the life-saving efforts of our firefighters and the off-duty Loudoun County firefighter.

“Fortunately, we were there and the YMCA had an AED device that we used until our ambulance crew arrived,” said the chief.

Dunn said having AEDs available in public facilities and other locations, such as schools, is proving their value.

“These are life-saving devices and should be available for emergency use in all public buildings and businesses where people are trained how to use them. It takes very little training to be able to use an AED, and these devices can save a life.”

Contact Jeffrey Alderton at

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