Local firefighters save man’s life | AspenTimes.com

Local firefighters save man’s life

Chad Abraham

Two Aspen firefighters were credited with saving a Gypsum man’s life Monday after he lost consciousness and his heart stopped beating while driving near the Pitkin County airport.The 44-year-old man, who likely suffered a heart attack, was taken to Aspen Valley Hospital and then airlifted to Denver. The victim, whose name was not released, drove about 30 feet off Highway 82 before coming to a stop, said sheriff’s office patrol supervisor Joe Bauer.Deputy Fire Chief Rick Balentine and fire Capt. Greg Wisener, who work at the Aspen Business Center, were at the car within a minute of the call around 1:30 p.m., Balentine said.Finding the driver’s-side door locked, he pulled the man out from the passenger side and put him in the bed of a flatbed truck, where they performed CPR and used a defibrillator.”He wasn’t breathing, he had no pulse,” Balentine said.Balentine is a 17-year veteran of the Aspen Fire Protection District and is its medical director; he has been an emergency medical technician for about as long. After the roadside treatment, the firefighters quickly found a pulse”[Balentine] certainly had a lot to do with him having a pulse,” Bauer said.Anytime the heart has stopped, giving an electrical shock as quickly as possible makes the most difference between life and death, Balentine said.Chad Abraham’s e-mail address is chad@aspentimes.com

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