San Jose Firefighters Honored for Saving 4-Year-Old Boy in Cardiac Arrest

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Firefighters were honored in an emotional ceremony in San Jose Sunday for saving the life of a 4-year-old boy in cardiac arrest back in February. NBC Bay Area's Kimberly Tere reports from South San Jose. (Published Sunday, Jun 8, 2014)

    Firefighters were honored in an emotional ceremony in San Jose Sunday for saving the life of a 4-year-old boy in cardiac arrest back in February.

    Firefighters said they get calls of people in distress all of the time, but it was rare to get one about a 4-year-old whose heart suddenly stopped working.

    On Sunday, the child’s family thanked emergency personnel in person at Station 35, crediting them with saving the life of their son.

    On Feb. 20, Mary Nopachai said she took her kids to the playground and saw her son, Alex, collapse. She said she was able to catch him before he hit the ground and immediately called 911.

    "It was terrifying. I think it’s very terrifying," Nopachai said. "It’s a nightmare for any parent, but I knew that I had to do it in order to help my child survive, and that’s what I did."

    Dispatcher Jennifer Burnham answered the call and was able to talk the mother through the steps of CPR until firefighters arrived.

    "It’s the call that makes the career worthwhile. 17 years--I’ve never met a family of a child," Burnham said. "I’ve never met a patient, so it’s the call that has made the 17 years worthwhile, and the cool thing is seeing the outcome and knowing what our piece of the public safety puzzle does and that it does work."

    The boy’s mother said the dispatcher remained incredibly calm as instructions were given over the phone. She is now encouraging all parents to learn CPR because you never know when it might need to be used.

    It is not clear what caused the cardiac arrest but on Sunday, Alex seemed happy and was running around, which was a thrill for the firefighters to see.