CRAIGHEAD COUNTY, AR (KAIT) - Every year countless lives are saved during a life-threatening event because somebody knew C-P-R.
Two Craighead County deputies were recognized today for putting their knowledge to use to save a mans life.
When a person's heart stops, every second counts. And it may take minutes to get an ambulance or fire rescue on the scene.
But nobody had stopped to help Earl Thompson when deputies Brian Skinner and Jeania Burns came upon his truck stopped in the middle of the road.
"All I remember is going down, going home and after that I don't remember anything at all."
Mr. Thompson was slumped over the wheel of his pickup when the deputies rolled onto the scene.
Deputy Skinner saw traffic moving around the stopped pickup and arrived first. Deputy Burns was still on Nettleton.
"He found that Mr. Thompson had his foot on the break and that the truck was actually in drive. At that point he called me back to the scene."
Thompson was on his way home from work when the attack hit him at the intersection of Frierson and College not his normal route home.
"If I'd took the by-pass I'd been doing 65 miles and hour and it would have been a totally different story than what it was."
What it was is two deputies using immediate life saving techniques to keep Thompson alive until emergency crews arrived.
Deputy Arlen Whitley is the deputy who teaches C-P-R to the deputies.
"When someone has a heart attack there's about a 4-6 minute window . If they can get to them in that time and start CPR on them the patient has a substantial chance of surviving it."
Deputy Burns said that because of her training when they pulled Thompson out of the truck instinct and training kicked in. Burns told me it's a lot different doing CPR on a person than a dummy.
"It's harder, you get tired. The dummies you do it on their chest actually gives and clicks so you know you're going down far enough to make the compression. On a real person you might here a rib crack."
In front of Mr. Thompson's family and Sheriffs Department Deputies and workers, Sheriff Jack McCann expressed pride in his officers' actions and each deputy was presented with a certificate.
It was also the first time Thompson met his rescuers.
"They're super nice and I couldn't imagine in my mind what they looked like. I kept imagining a big state trooper, sheriff or whatever."
Deputy Whitley has been teaching CPR since 2005. Saving Mr. Thompson was the first time any deputy out in the field has saved a life.
"I have eight students that I have trained that has actually done CPR and saved somebody and that makes me proud."
Burns, "CPR is something anybody can learn and obviously it does save lives."
McCann, "Everybody should know CPR."