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Tennessee Teen Ham Responds to Emergency, Performs CPR

06/26/2009

It was just another day, helping out at another event. It was the third year in a row that 16 year old Cody Anderson, KI4FUV, of Harriman, Tennessee, had volunteered to help out the Roane County Amateur Radio Club (RARC) with the Run for the Child event. But it was the first time that he would help save a life.

May 30 dawned with fog in the sky. Not too hot, but the temperature would reach the mid-80s before the Sun went down. All in all, a good day for a race. Anderson made his way to the race site at the Roane State Community College, set up his equipment at Checkpoint #2 and waited for the runners to pass by. "This year started off just like the past two years," he told his local newspaper, the Roane County News. Twenty minutes later, that all changed.

Twenty minutes later as the runners started their second pass around the marked course, Anderson saw one of the runners fall down. Unlike other runners who fall down on a course, this man did not get up. After waiting about 20 seconds, Anderson left Checkpoint #2 and quickly made his way over to the downed racer. As he did so, he used his handheld transceiver to notify his fellow club members who were at the event, "Runner down."

Sheriff's deputies were also placed along the race route. One who was near Anderson and Checkpoint #2 saw what was going on and came to assist. As Anderson raced on foot, the deputy jumped in his patrol car and drove to the fallen runner. Both reached the fallen runner in about 20 seconds.

RARC Vice President Cliff Segar, KD4GT, said that they all heard Anderson racing toward the runner, "but we just assumed someone just simply tripped and fell." But after hearing Anderson say "Roll EMS" over the radio, he knew it was much more serious.

Another runner -- "I never got his name," Anderson said -- passed the area where the teen and the sheriff's deputy were kneeling next to the runner lying on the ground. The man stopped to help, checking out the man on the ground, who was still breathing. Anderson got back on the radio and told Bill Farnham, KI4FZT, at the command center that the first responders who were on site needed to get to where he was -- immediately. "The man who stopped, I just kind of let him take over," Anderson said. "He seemed like he had a bit of medical training, and he started taking vital signs. I was talking to Bill on my radio, letting him know what was going on."

Then the fallen runner stopped breathing.

In February, Anderson took a CPR class that another RARC club member -- Phil Newman, KE4LSH -- had organized. It was the skills he learned at that class that came into play on May 30. He started giving the man mouth-to-mouth resuscitation; the other runner started chest compressions. "We did about three sets of CPR before the Roane County Rescue guys got to us, just a second or two later" Anderson said.

"I'm just glad I was able to take the CPR training, else I don't know what I would have done or how I would have reacted," Anderson told the County Times. Anderson efforts, along with those of the unknown runner, kept the man alive long enough for EMS to arrive and use an electronic defibrillator to restart his heart. He was eventually transported to the University of Tennessee Medical Center via Lifestar helicopter. "Last I heard," Anderson said, "was that he was doing okay."

Anderson will begin his senior year at Rockwood High School this fall. When he was 11, he sat for his Technician exam and passed; he is now a General. He likes to help out with the Boy Scouts and give back to the community through his SKYWARN and ARES® activities: "I volunteer five weeks every summer to help out at Camp Buck Toms, a Boy Scout camp located in Rockwood, Tennessee. Along with a few other volunteers from the local area, I teach the radio and electronics merit badge courses. Through the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, I've personally helped out with several severe weather outbreaks, the TVA Kingston ash spill in December 2008 and the Kingston Smokin' the Water 4th of July festival a few times."

He is modest about the events of May 30. "I took my first training class for CPR and AED in February 2009, thinking I would never have to use it," he said. "On May 30, 2009 -- I used it. I would highly recommend that everyone takes some type of medical training."

Segar calls Anderson a hero. "You never know when training will possibly be the difference between life and death," he said. -- Some information from the Roane County News



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