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“Heartbeat Rescuers”?Honored During Statewide Ceremonies

By Staff | Aug 4, 2009

HEART?HEROES - Officer Darrin Adams, left and Chief Deputy Todd Suhr, right, were honored by the American Heart Association as Heartbeat Rescuers for their efforts in deploying defibrillation equipment to save the lives of two people this year. The pair were honored during ceremonies in Ames last month. -- submitted photo

A program that began in Palo Alto County a few short years ago has paid dividends over and over again. In the course of its’ history, the program has saved lives and most recently, two area men were recognized for their efforts in saving lives.

Emmetsburg Police Officer Darrin Adams and Palo Alto County Chief Deputy Todd Suhr were honored last month by the American Heart Association’s Iowa Chapter as Heartbeat Rescuers during ceremonies in Ames.

Both men used Automatic External Defibrillator units to resuscitate persons who might not have had a second chance to live or say their goodbyes.

The Heartbeat Rescuer Award Program was developed by the American Heart Association to recognize and congratulate people who have performed CPR or provided defibrillation in an effort to save a life. Award recipients may become involved in AHA related activities such as testifying at hearings, letting their story be included in print materials, and sharing their story in person and via the media to generate support for various advocacy efforts.

For Adams, the save occurred in February of 2009 when he responded to a call for a person who had collapsed at McDonalds’ in Emmetsburg. The victim, an employee, had complainted of not feeling well, but collapsed before he could leave work.

Officer Adams initiated CPR and deployed his Automatic External Defibrillator, which provided one shock to the victim before Emergency Medical Personnel and the ambulance arrived.

Resuscitation efforts continued and the patient ultimately survived and is undergoing cardiac rehab.

For Deputy Suhr, his moment of truth came in January when he responded to a call involving a woman who had collapsed while visiting a friend.

Suhr arrived at the scene and deployed his AED unit, which delivered one shock prior to the arrival of EMS?personnel and ambulance.

Due to other medical issues, however, the victim died the following day, but was able to spend some time with her family after the incident.

While both incidents did not have the same outcome, the value of the AED units and the continued efforts of the public safety community to safeguard the residents of the county is unquestioned.

“Both Darrin and Todd are truly heroes for knowing what to do in an emergency and using their training,” noted Sheryl Darling, Director of Emergency Medical Services at the Palo Alto County Hospital. “The citizens of Palo Alto County are very fortunate to have officers such as Todd and Darrin who are ready to help at a moment’s notice.

The AED?units are placed in each law enforcement vehicle in the county, along with various public buildings in each community.