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Off Duty AFD CPR Instructor Saves a Life

Friday’s Hero: AFD Captain Kevin O’Brien

Albuquerque– Today, Mayor Richard J. Berry honored an Albuquerque Fire Department Captain for his decisive and life-saving actions this past March when a driver went into cardiac arrest and crashed his vehicle. This week’s Friday’s Hero not only saved a life, but he also teaches others how to do so through hands-only CPR. AFD’s Captain Kevin O’Brien is this week’s Friday’s Hero.

On March 20th, Captain O’Brien was off duty was driving home from a meeting. While sitting in his vehicle at the intersection of Wyoming and Menaul, he noticed a pickup truck had driven into the rear of a car. Captain O’Brien got out of his vehicle to check on the welfare of the driver of the truck. A bystander told the captain that someone had called 911 and help was on the way. Captain O’Brien approached the truck and realized the driver was unconscious and not breathing. Without hesitation, Captain O’Brien removed the driver’s seatbelt and placed the man on the ground to check his vital signs. He soon found that the man did not have a pulse and began hands only compressions. Several minutes into compressions, a bystander stepped up and offered to rotate out with Captain O’Brien to ensure both were administering consistent pressure. Assisted by the bystander, Captain O’Brien removed the driver’s dentures to prevent him from choking and checked the effectiveness of CPR. Once AFD units arrived, Captain O’Brien informed them of his progress and assisted in the management of the cardiac arrest.

The driver was able to regain his pulse just before the ambulance transported him to seek further medical attention. Captain O’Brien later checked in on the man at the hospital to make sure he was okay. Thanks to intuitive actions of Captain O’Brien and the bystander who saw the accident happen and their willingness to help, the driver survived and was released from the hospital days later and is now at home, recovering. If the driver hadn’t received immediate CPR, the outcome could have been gravely different.

While Captain O’ Brien is on duty, he teaches hands-only CPR classes for City of Albuquerque employees and the public. After his class, Captain O’Brien shares information on the recently launched Pulsepoint App. This past February, Mayor Berry and AFD launched the Pulsepoint app, which alerts subscribers when 911 is made aware of a cardiac arrest near the app user. The user receives a notification of the medical emergency so they can attend to the person and administer CPR when seconds matter.

In the two months since the launch, 1,271 citizens have downloaded the app and 456 subscribers have indicated they are willing to perform CPR. When the app is downloaded, the subscriber is able to select the type of alerts they want to receive. We encourage CPR-trained subscribers to select the “CPR” tab after downloading the app. The app is downloaded an additional 200 times each week, thanks in part to the hands-only CPR training that this week’s Friday’s Hero leads. The Albuquerque Fire Department receives one to two cardiac arrest notifications each week. We thank Captain O’Brien for his heroic action this week and encourage CPR-trained members of the Albuquerque community to download this app and follow the Captain’s example, providing CPR to people in need when seconds are of the utmost importance.

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For information on downloading to app, go to https://www.cabq.gov/fire/pulsepoint and to learn Hands Only CPR, plan to attend the next free training by going to https://www.cabq.gov/fire/hands-only-cpr.