Tallapoosa Co fire fighters make a difference saving a man's life

Robert Dean
Robert Dean

Posted by Bryan Henry  -  bio | email

TALLAPOOSA CO., AL (WSFA) -The call came in on a Friday night almost two weeks ago. "They saved my life," said Robert Dean.

A heart attack was getting the upper hand on Robert Dean. With Union volunteer firefighters and paramedics on the way, time was slipping away.

Dean was visiting a friend at a home on Lake Martin.

"I didn't realize the gravity of it. I remember them shining a light in my eyes and it was like I went into a dream," said Dean who is only 48.

First responder Matt Geer, a 19-year old volunteer, who just passed his first responder test quickly relied on his training and the fire department's brand new $22,000 defibrillator.

"I just took him inside and put oxygen on him," said Geer.

And right there with Matt was Brandon Pitchford, also a volunteer with the Union Volunteer Fire Department.

"I did 30 compressions on his chest until Mr. Dean came around," said Pitchford.

For two solid, long minutes Robert Dean was gone; no pulse, no breathing, flatline.

And then a dramatic turn for the better.

"The next thing I knew I felt like someone was putting a knife in my chest and that's when they hit me with the defibrillator," Dean said.

Matt, Brandon and three other members of the Union Volunteer Fire Department brought Robert Dean back.

"They got my vote. They're the best," said Dean.

What played in Robert Dean's favor was the fact the fire department was only 3 miles away and something else. Mr. Dean is convinced it just wasn't his time to go.

"I think what helped me was we were there with everything," Geer said.

Today, Robert Dean is alive and well but changed.

"I'm told by all I am lucky to be here. If anything God has more for me to do," Dean said.

This is where Dean wants to return the favor in a very big way. Dean works for a wireless communications company.

"I do internet communications and I'm working to help emergency personnel, first responders to get safe passages through intersections. It's a global problem," Dean said.

In other words, Dean is working to find a way for 911 dispatchers to synchronize traffic lights turning from red to green before emergency personnel go through that particular intersection.

It turns out Robert Dean had two major blockages. By his own admission he didn't eat well and smoked a pack of cigarettes a day but not anymore.

Doctors put a stent in Dean's heart. He has quit smoking and starting eating healthier.

For now Robert Dean is relishing a second chance at life, thanks to a group of volunteers who would not quit.

"Just doing my job," Geer said.

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