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Archived News Release from 2003

For Immediate Release

Off-Duty Redwood City Firefighter Uses Automatic External Defibrillator to Save Life at Pacific Athletic Club

Redwood City, CA - September 30, 2003 - While working out at the Pacific Athletic Club last month, off-duty Redwood City firefighter Chris Kehr had an opportunity to help save a life and, along with other club patrons and the use of an Automatic External Defibrillator (AED), he was able to do just that.

On the morning of August 29th, a patron of the club suffered an apparent cardiac arrest. Firefighter Kehr checked the victim and found no breathing and no pulse. After ensuring that 911 had been called, firefighter Kehr used the club’s AED, which had been installed precisely for such emergencies, while other patrons applied CPR. When Redwood City’s paramedic engine #20 arrived, firefighter Kehr provided a thorough patient assessment and continued to assist with treatment, while the paramedic administered appropriate medications and provided airway support to the patient until the ambulance arrived for transport to the hospital.

This incident, and its happy ending, illustrates the dedication and professionalism of members of the Redwood City Fire Department, and highlights the importance of having AEDs installed in high-usage public and private buildings. Redwood City has installed AEDs in ten of its buildings, and provided training to many staff in both the equipment’s use and in CPR. AEDs are also seen in stadiums, airports, shopping malls, on airplanes, and in public facilities. Fortunately, the Pacific Athletic Club had an AED, and it clearly paid off with the saving of a life.

This remarkable story of the survival of a member of our community, through the help of an off-duty Redwood City firefighter, fellow patrons, readily-available technology, and Redwood City’s fire department-based paramedic system will be recounted on Friday, October 3rd at 10:30 am at the Pacific Athletic Club, 200 Redwood Shores Parkway. His story serves as real-life encouragement for the widespread installation of AEDs and CPR education. Redwood City’s firefighters will also be honored for their willingness and ability to immediately respond to the call for help, whether on duty or off.

Each day across the country, an average of 1,000 people die from sudden cardiac arrest, largely because they can't get to a hospital in time for defibrillation. Statistics have shown that those having a combination of CPR and use of an AED have about an 80% chance of survival. In light of this, more and more AEDs are being placed in public places in order to be prepared to help increase the odds of saving a life in the event of cardiac arrest. The Redwood City Fire Department applauds the Pacific Athletic Club for doing its job in helping to provide a “heart safe” environment. Further, this incident points to the value and service that our fire department and paramedics provide to the community 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Redwood City Fire Department has five fire stations housing five engines and one truck, and currently has over 70 staff members including firefighters, firefighter/paramedics, captains and battalion chiefs, fire prevention staff, training staff, and administrative staff. Visit Redwood City’s website at for information about the City and its services, the community, recreation programs, education, City government, and local business.

Gerry Kohlmann
Redwood City Fire Chief
(650) 780-7451


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