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At the Impact - Citizens Speak Out on First Responders in the Community

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   First responders change lives. It is a part of the job, and for every routine call, there is a member of the community whose life may be impacted forever. In this section, we will present a small sampling of the stories from community members and the families of service personnel, demonstrating the day-to-day difference a first responder can make through their skill and dedication.

   Duane Pesice from Tucson, AZ

   Let me tell you about my experience with First Responders.

   In February of 2010, I woke up one Thursday morning feeling lousier than usual. I had been feeling run-down and had developed a nasty hacking cough. I knew that I was sick but I figured that I would work through it, and that I would be all right soon enough, just like I had done before.
   So I took a shower and started getting ready for work. It was hard to breathe, and I was really weak and light-headed.
   I stepped out, dried myself off, and almost passed out from a coughing fit. I started shaving, and started coughing again. I retched, and about a quarter pound of blood and snot and tissue appeared on the shiny white surface on the inside of the sink.

   "Hon," I called. "I don't think I'm going to work today."
   She came in to the bathroom.
   "No," she said. "I suggest you call 911."
   I did that thing.

   Within minutes, six people were at the door, wearing uniforms. One of them asked pertinent questions while another commenced taking my vital signs and then testing my responses to breathing tests.
   I thought I might have a bad cold or the flu, and said so.
   The lead questioner told me that it might be something like that, and that my vital signs indicated that I might want to visit the emergency room. I was asked which of the two nearby hospitals I wanted to go to, and was fitted with an oxygen mask.
   With a paramedic at each elbow, I was escorted out to the truck. They kept me in a standing position-it was explained to me while we were on our way that I had some fluid in my lungs and that they wanted to give me as much room as possible to breathe.
   That may well have kept me alive. Before long, I was in ICU, in a medically-induced coma, it having been found that I was suffering from double pneumonia, sepsis, and the terrible and deadly syndrome known as ARDS [Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome].


   The First Responders were courteous, professional, and rapid. The entirety of their visit and my transportation might have taken ten minutes. Maybe fifteen minutes had elapsed since my call.

   It's entirely possible that they saved my life. At the very least, they prolonged it. I almost didn't last through that weekend.

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