Austin/ Health & Lifestyle
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Published on May 22, 2024
Off-Duty Austin Firefighter Hailed as Hero in Saving Man's Life, Inspires Push for Public CPR TrainingSource: Instagram / austinfiredept

An off-duty firefighter's swift response on a routine summer day at an Austin track has turned life-saving for 24-year-old Dom Fusco, who suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. According to an interview by KXAN, the incident occurred last August when Fusco collapsed while timing his mile run. His friend Gus Manke, who had kept his CPR training current since 2019, sprang into action, while firefighter Ben Liner, who was on the scene with his son, provided crucial support. "By the grace of God, my friend Gus was there who’s trained in CPR, and there just happened to be a firefighter that was on the track that day," Fusco stated.

After Fusco's cardiac arrest, he remained unconscious for two-and-a-half minutes, experienced seizures, and was foaming at the mouth, as his friend recounted to KXAN. The reunion with Liner nearly 10 months later at an Austin-Travis County EMS station marked a poignant moment for Fusco, reflecting his gratefulness towards those who saved his life. "I wouldn’t be here without you," he expressed to Liner.

In a separate, yet equally poignant incident reported by CBS Austin, Damon Hoffman, an employee at Dragon’s Lair Comics and Fantasy in north Austin, went into cardiac arrest on the job only two months ago. Responding to a 911 call, the C-shift crew from Engine 16 and Austin-Travis County EMS assessed Hoffman. Firefighters from Engine 21 joined to assist as well. It took around 40 minutes of CPR and the use of an AED to stabilize Hoffman before he was transported to the hospital for further treatment and rehabilitation. "It was great to see him up and around," said AFD Lieutenant Lonnie Saul when Hoffman returned to thank his rescuers.

Both incidents underscore the importance of CPR knowledge in emergencies. The American Heart Association offers courses on hands-on CPR and urges the public to educate themselves. Fusco has utilized his experience to launch a fundraising initiative, Climb for Kids, which supports education for Tanzanian children, while Hoffman's story reinforces the value of first responders and community involvement in critical situations. The life-altering moments have inspired Fusco, Hoffman, and first responders alike to advocate for greater public CPR training.