Newton Fire/EMS' "B-Shift" finished at the bottom of the final standings of the the annual Fireman's Games in Athletic Park — but they put together the biggest victory of the day before the competition even started.
Seven members of B-Shift volunteered to help organize and set up the competition, getting to the park in the morning hours to get started. That set the stage for a confluence of events that made them big winners.
The crew, with the help of a medic unit that happened to be in the park at the right time, saved the life of a 62-year old man who was clinically dead.
"It is a great day when you can bring someone back from being clinically dead — and that is what that crew did," said chief Mark Willis. "This patient was very fortunate where he had a cardiac arrest he was close to a bunch of guys that normally wouldn't be there — with an ambulance."
As B-Shift was setting up for the competition later in the day which featured a truck pull, mock fire rescue and barrel push using fire hoses, they noticed something had been left behind — a banner used to welcome those who wanted to watch the competition.
The called Station One, where the banner was hanging, and asked for on-duty workers to bring it to the park. Those workers chose to come in an ambulance. As that crew of four got to the park, everyone heard cries for help.
"Someone within 50 yards of them was calling for help," Willis said. "They found a 64-year old man in cardiac arrest."
Medics started CPR immediately. They then used a defibrillator from the ambulance to shock the victim and restore a regular pulse.
"By the time he was in transport to the hospital, he was sitting up and talking to them," Willis said. "One point I would make is response time — for every minute that a person is in cardiac arrest, their chance of survival is reduced by 10 percent."
In this case, response time was under a minute. The victim was taken to Via Christi St. Francis for treatment.
As he recovered, B-Shift competed with four other teams at the annual fireman's games. They finished fifth overall.
"I don't think they mind finishing there," Willis said. "When you can save a life, that's a good day."
Video of the fireman's games is available at thekansan.com
Results of the competition
1. Newton A Shift via tie breaker
2. Newton C Shift
3. Sedgwick County Fire
4. Walton Fire
5. Newton B Shift