Firefighters Jeff Menard and Dave Hardin were working as part of the bicycle emergency response team at the 11th annual Gobble Jog on Thanksgiving when an emergency occurred.
The pair biked ahead of the runners and stopped near Cherokee Street and Chicopee Drive waiting for the mass of about 12,000 runners who braved the weather in the low 20s to catch up.
“We were looking down Chicopee when people behind us starting screaming,” Menard said.
A man in his 40s, who police declined to identify, had collapsed.
Menard thought the man had fallen and would just need a “quick fix” before the jogger rejoined the race, but the situation proved grim.
The man soon went into cardiac arrest.
“We had our hands on him at the time he went into cardiac arrest,” Menard said.
Menard and Hardin acted quickly, treating the patient with an automated external defibrillator, also called AED, performed CPR and waited for the ambulance to arrive.
It was just eight minutes from the time the man went into cardiac arrest to when he arrived at the emergency room.
“That’s unheard of. … There was no down time,” Menard said.
When a patient goes into cardiac arrest, it can take eight minutes for an ambulance to arrive and render on-scene care, Menard said, and seconds can be the difference between life and death.
“It couldn’t have gone any better,” Hardin said.
It’s not the type of injury firefighters typically see when working on the bicycle emergency response team. The squad is used at large events, like the Gobble Jog and Fourth of July festivities, and makes it easier for first responders to render care to individuals in large crowds, but those injuries are usually minor, like dehydration or a twisted ankle.
The man remains at WellStar Kennestone hospital. Hardin has spoken with the patient’s wife and said he’s optimistic the man will recover.