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Pictured from left to right are 11-year-old Serenity Farrabee, her grandfather Rob Posey, BFD Captain Brian Elmore, Florence Farrabee, BFD Firefighter John Brugnoli, paramedic Michelle Shreves, Buckhannon mayor Robbie Skinner, Upshur County DHS/OEM Director Brian Shreves and E911 dispatcher Brandi Walton.

Chief Kimble: Local 11-year-old girl’s knowledge of CPR, smooth emergency response helped save her grandfather’s life

BUCKHANNON – The Buckhannon Fire Department on Friday commended members of their own department, the Upshur County EMS, the Upshur County E911 Communication Center and an 11-year girl who helped save her grandfather’s life by administering CPR during a heart attack.

The community was invited to the Buckhannon Fire Department on Friday, Jan. 22, to recognize several emergency response personnel and 11-year-old Serenity Farrabee for saving the life of Rob Posey Dec. 19 when he suffered a cardiac attack outside a hospital.

Buckhannon Fire Chief JB Kimble said the response to this emergency is what saved his life.

Fire Chief JB Kimble describing the emergency response on Dec. 19.

“This event is how every emergency should go, working in a cohesive manner,” Kimble said. “Everything should happen like this. If we can get to this type of [cooperation] in our whole community, we would save a lot more lives.”

Kimble outlined the events of Dec. 19, starting with Serenity’s 10-year-old friend, Katara Fultz, calling 911.

“Brandi Walton was the 911 dispatcher, and Upshur County 911 does an EMD which is emergency medical dispatch, so once they receive a call, that call stays with Brandi unless something else goes on, and they guide them through,” Kimble explained. “From the time the call was taken, fire and EMS were on scene within three minutes and two seconds, and the brain starts dying in six minutes. So, with that being said, this 11-year-old girl right here is amazing. She initiated CPR because she had a CPR class in Lewis County [so she knew how to] start chest compressions.”

Kimble said there are 350,009 sudden cardiac arrests – the abrupt loss of heart function, breathing and consciousness – outside hospitals annually in the United States, and less than 12 percent of those people survive.

“This should be the guide to get CPR and first aid back in our schools,” Kimble said. “We were just discussing that I had a health class and in school and we’ve gotten away from that. Maybe if get back to that, another little girl will save a life.”

After Serenity started compressions, Brian Shreves and Michelle Shreves were on scene with Captain Brian Elmore and career Firefighter First Class John Brugnoli.

“Three years ago, Brian and John wouldn’t have been on that call,” Kimble said. “We were not trained and didn’t have the equipment, so, at that point in time when we started running emergency medical calls in the City of Buckhannon, these two gentlemen would not have been on that call. Through the cohesiveness with Upshur EMS and our department, we are providing a more professional service in our community as a well-trained group of people.”

Director of Upshur County EMS Gloria Burr presents a pin to Serenity Farrabee for her quick response and conducting chest compressions.

Kimble also recognized the important role E911 dispatchers play in responding to emergencies.

“Dispatchers are the ones who take the calls, they’re the ones that set the pace for what we do and they’re amazing,” Kimble said. “I would never want to do their job, and I’m sure they probably say the same thing about being a fireman or a paramedic, but when we put it all together, everybody does a great job, and this is what happens when it all comes together.”

Kimble also thanked the Shreves, the two paramedics who arrived on scene.

“I would also like to recognize the Shreves; they were two of the paramedics that were on the scene that day, and they’ve already received their pins, but I’m telling you, they are wonderful paramedics in our community,” Kimble said. “You see them on about every major call we have, whether they were working that day or not. They’re amazing, and we have a good working relationship with them.”

Brian Shreves is also the director of the Upshur County Department of Homeland Security and Emergency Management.

Rob Posey thanks everyone in attendance for their work, which saved his life.

Kimble invited Maria Potter, a registered nurse at St. Joseph’s Hospital and a firefighter/paramedic with the Buckhannon Fire Department, to speak about the HEARTSafe committee in Buckhannon.

“We started the HEARTSafe committee here in Buckhannon a couple years ago, and it’s been sort of slow-moving, but in summary, the committee is a program designed to promote survival from sudden out-of-hospital cardiac arrests,” Potter said. “It is a general concept focused on strengthening the chain of survival, as described by the American Heart Association. It recognizes and simulates efforts by individuals committed to improving their system for preventing sudden cardiac arrests from becoming irreversible death.”

She said the committee has added five AEDs – or automated external defibrillators – to areas in Buckhannon.

“We have five AEDs within our community: at Jawbone Park, Chancery Street, North Buckhannon Park, City Park and the Riverwalk areas because we feel people are more likely to collapse where large gatherings occur,” Potter said. “We want people to feel safe when they come and visit Buckhannon. I know this did not utilize our community AEDs, but this is the exact scenario that we are wanting to achieve.”

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