Berthoud firefighters receive awards for saving lives
By Terry Georgia
Six Berthoud firefighters were given awards for helping save the lives of two people in recent months. During an awards ceremony at Brookside Gardens on Saturday, Feb. 18, the firefighters were honored with plaques and medals presented by Fire Chief Stephen Charles and Battalion Chief Nico Romero. All six firefighters, both women and men, serve in Shift B, out of Station One in downtown Berthoud.
Chief Charles opened the ceremony after dinner by saying, “We’re in the people business. What better Christmas present than to have a loved one saved from cardiac arrest? I’m proud of this organization and proud of each of you.”
Cardiac arrest on Dec. 25, 2022
Battalion Chief Romero led the presentation of medals to his crew members, by describing each of the two life-saving responses. The first call came on Christmas day. The crew was called to a home where a woman had collapsed while having Christmas dinner. Her daughter had begun CPR immediately and the firefighters took over when they arrived just six minutes later. They continued CPR and defibrillation for 27 minutes. The woman regained consciousness before being transported to the hospital. Remarkably, she was well enough the next day to return home.
The four responders who made this save possible are Lieutenant Nick Ireland, Engineer Jasmine Crane, Engineer Jourdon Mazur and Firefighter Kevin Hodge.
Cardiac arrest on Jan. 24, 2023
The B Shift was called out again almost exactly one month later on Jan. 24, when a man having breakfast with a friend at Grandpa’s Cafe also suffered a cardiac arrest. The restaurant was filled with patrons, but no one started CPR. A Larimer County Sheriff was the first responder to arrive three minutes later. He had performed one round of CPR when the firefighters arrived on the scene. “It was a particularly stressful scene because the responders had to move tables out of the way and had to work with everyone watching,” recalled Romero, who was also on scene, “It was an impressive response because all of our local first responders were there, working in concert. It was like a textbook response.” Once again, the team was able to revive the patient and transport him to the hospital. He too went home the next day.
The firefighters who responded to the January call were Lieutenant Nick Ireland, Engineer Marshall Massaro, Firefighter Kevin Hodge and Firefighter Haylee McCullough.
Lieutenant Nick Ireland and Firefighter Kevin Hodge took part in both rescues.
Romero emphasized the unusual nature of these outcomes. “The statistics tell us that 350 thousand people [not already in a medical facility] suffer cardiac arrest every year. Even if they get CPR right away, there is only a five to ten percent survival rate. If they can get advanced care in the field and can be transported to a hospital, the survival rate goes up to 50%. The fact that these patients were able to go home the next day is an amazing outcome.”
Romero also marveled at the efficiency and professionalism of his team. “I get to watch these crews do the best jobs of their lives. My goofy [firefighter] family turns into rainy night superheroes.”
Berthoud Fire Protection District Board President Dan Hershman also attended the ceremony and added his praise for the life-saving efforts of the firefighters. “I’ve seen this department go from all volunteer to all paid professionals,” he said, “to have two rescues in two months and have those people survive is remarkable. Your [national] reputation precedes you.”
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