Purdue Fire Department honors 2 local heroes

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — The Purdue University Fire Department will paid tribute to two women this morning, Monday (July 7), who helped save a man’s life during the Area IV Agency on Aging Senior Games last month.

The special recognition ceremony took place at 8:30 a.m. at the fire department, at 1250 W. Third St. in West Lafayette.

On the morning of June 12, a table tennis event was being held at Purdue’s Recreational Sports Center when a 67-year-old man suffered a sudden cardiac arrest shortly after finishing a round of play.

Two volunteers at the event, Catherine Gaylor and Traci Goudy, initiated CPR on the man while they waited for the ambulance to arrive. The women, who both have nursing backgrounds, were instrumental in saving the participant’s life, said Purdue fire Chief Kevin Ply.

“When someone’s heart stops beating, every minute without intervention is critical,” Ply said. “In a situation like this, Catherine and Traci were just as important as the ambulance crew since they knew CPR and worked so hard to keep the man alive until help arrived.

“The national survival rate for people that experience sudden cardiac arrest is less than 10 percent, but since Catherine and Traci performed CPR and the fire department was able to respond quickly and use an automatic external defibrillator, this man’s life was saved.”

Ply said situations such as this underscore the importance of people learning CPR.

“The earlier CPR is started, the greater the chance of survival,” he said. “People never expect a medical emergency to happen to someone they know, but CPR can buy extra time for the person until professional help arrives.”

The Area IV Agency on Aging offers the Senior Games each year to residents age 55 and older from Benton, Carroll, Clinton, Fountain, Montgomery, Tippecanoe, Warren and White counties. The week long games include a variety of activities including bingo, euchre, cycling, tennis, swimming, walking, golf, table tennis and bowling.

The goal of the event is to maintain and improve health and wellness, provide a competitive, athletic, recreational and social experience, and focus attention on the importance of regular exercise.

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