Muskegon Heights Firefighters Honored For Saving Lives Of Two Residents

Andrew Trzaska | February 14, 2012

Two Muskegon Heights residents lived to see 2012 thanks to a pair of Muskegon Heights firefighters.

At their meeting Monday, the Muskegon Heights City Council and their fire department’s leading lieutenants honored firefighters Gary Davis and Terry Sable for two separate incidents that happened in late 2011.

In the first, a woman in her 40s was found unconscious and not breathing at her home by the fire department. She was able to be revived through the use of CPR and was released from the hospital a week later.

In the second incident, resident Larry Mattox was working out a local fitness club when he spontaneously collapsed and stopped breathing.  It turned out he was having a heart attack.  Again, the fire department was the first unit to respond, and with use of an automated external defibrillator and CPR, he was revived and was released from the hospital several days later.

In both incidents, local ambulances retrieved the subjects after being resuscitated and then continued medical care until each patient reached the hospital.

The Muskegon County Medical Control Authority awarded each firefighter certificates for “exemplary work in AED and CPR”.  These are only awarded to people when the recipient of the treatment is released from the hospital in a healthy state.

Because municipalities can sometimes get public safety personnel to a scene quicker than an ambulance squad, firefighters must be trained in CPR and using defibrillators.

“This is the core of how and why we provide medical services,” said Lt. Dean. “After 6 to 10 minutes, brain damage can set in.”

It appears that the firefighters kept long-lasting mental damage from affecting at least one of the CPR recipients.

“The reason I am here tonight is because of [firefighters Davis and Sable],” said Mattox, who spoke animatedly at Monday’s meeting. “God put two firefighters here in Muskegon Heights. They saved me… and there was no brain damage at all.”

Firefighter Sable indicated they were just doing their jobs:

“Any one of us [in the department] would have performed the exact same way.”

Councilmen Willie Watson and Vernonell Smith expressed appreciation to the firefighters at Monday’s meeting.

“These are the stories you don’t hear about in the paper,” said Watson. “And you can’t get any better than saving lives.”

Andrew Trzaska

103.7 “The Beat” – local government beat reporter and political analyst