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Fire chief honors team that saved his life

Five honored for use of defibrillator on Chief Hull when his heart stopped in October

Estacada Fire Chief Alan Hull honored five members of his department for saving his life on Oct. 20 at the department's annual awards banquet on Saturday.

Each of the five rescuers-Lt. Steve Kent, Nathan Ennis, Andy Roper, Melody Ennis and David Long-were presented with a special Life Saving Certificate and 'I Saved a Heart' pin from ZOLL Medical Corporation, the company whose defibrillator was used to shock Hull's heart back to a normal rhythm after he went into sudden cardiac arrest last October.

The 55-year old fire chief, a 30-year EMT veteran and father of four with no prior history of heart trouble, went into what he calls 'textbook denial' when he first started experiencing symptoms at home with his family shortly after midnight last October. Only after the pain became excruciatingly worse did Hull surrender to his wife's pleas to call 911, his own rescue unit.

At the hospital, Hull had three stents inserted to unblock his arteries, and following cardiac rehabilitation, returned to work five weeks later.

Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death worldwide, claiming 325,000 deaths annually here in the United States. Studies show that a person unlucky enough to experience sudden cardiac arrest outside of a hospital is not likely to survive, with about 95 percent of sudden cardiac arrest victims dying before reaching the hospital.

The Zoll M Series defibrillator is one of the smallest and lightest defibrillators/monitors, which makes for easy handling and optimal viewing by rescuers. The new rugged devices are specifically tailored for professional rescuers and represent the latest in heart monitoring and resuscitation equipment designed to meet the specific demands and extreme conditions that Estacada emergency medical technicians, paramedics and firefighters face every day.