Officer Stephen DeBrular of the Aquia Harbor Police Department saved a life.
When a resident of the gated community in North Stafford went into cardiac arrest, DeBrular’s CPR and defibrillator training kicked in.
DeBrular had just left the scene of a call for shots fired when he received the cardiac arrest call.
“When I got the scene it was chaotic; [I had] the husband waving me down and when I got there, it was an older female – no breathing, no pulse, no response of any kind,” DeBrular said.
He immediately began performing CPR and using an AED, an automated external defibrillator, which uses electric therapy for those in cardiac arrest. It was a tense six minutes before the EMS arrived. “I was finally able to get a pulse and her breathing back,” DeBrular commented.
DeBrular, who has worked at the department for the past six years, has had a wealth of law enforcement experience including military police and state police work, so when he got a call for cardiac arrest this past Winter, he knew he had to act fast.
“What I was told by the doctors was that someone in cardiac arrest for the amount of time she was in and having the AED and CPR being done at that point was probably the key point in saving her life. They said she had a less than 20% chance at that point, which actually ended up being a less than two percent chance. If I hadn’t been there when I was, there was no way she could have survived,” said DeBrular.
Chief Patricia S. Harman of the Aquia Harbor Police Department has helped to create and maintain a team that certifies officers and local citizens in first aid, CPR and use of the AED machine. In a life-saving coincidence, “The cert team had just given us a refresher course – we had just recertified for CPR a couple of weeks to a month prior to this incident,” said Harman.
The woman did not return requests for comment to maintain her privacy, but has made a full recovery since the incident and has no after effects.
To celebrate DeBrular’s life saving actions, the department has nominated him for the AED Life Saver Award and the Stafford Sheriff’s Office Life Saver Award.
“It’s a great feeling. I don’t feel like I’m a hero or anything like that. I was glad I was able to do my job and I’m glad I had the training. I was just at the right place, at the right time, with the right training. It makes me feel really good that she can continue on with her life, so it’s a great feeling,” DeBrular said.