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Be ready: Cardiac events can strike anyone, anytime

Know the signs of cardiac arrest and stroke and swiftly treat those symptoms

Editor's note: Chief Adam K. Thiel urges us all to recognize and quickly treat the symptoms of heart attack and stroke in ourselves and others, because these events can strike anyone at any time.

It's great to see a positive outcome to this story and I'm sure you'll all join me in thanking Firefighter (and police officer and Iraq War veteran) Darhower for his service to our nation, as well as wishing him a complete recovery and return to duty.

I've written several times in the past about the importance of recognizing the signs and symptoms, in ourselves and others, of a potential heart attack, stroke or other medical condition. This is easy to say, of course, but in my experience it's not always easy to practice. Generally speaking, we firefighters don't always make the best patients.

The real lesson in this story is that cardiac-related emergencies can strike at any age, and often without warning. We don't generally associate this type of event with younger responders (whatever that means). But we know it can happen to folks who are in good condition, and even after a clean physical examination.

The key again is to learn about, recognize and swiftly treat the signs and symptoms — every time. If it's nothing, so much the better. But if it's something, you might just save a life.

Stay safe!

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