Action Line: Juneau Fire Chief discusses successful CPR incident, increase in service calls

Capital City Fire and Rescue Chief Rich Etheridge was a guest on the program Thursday, where it was revealed that the department responded to over 4,000 calls for the first time ever in 2015.

Capital City Fire Rescue says it was another great save by the public because of bystander CPR and the use of an automatic external defibrillator.

Fire Chief Rich Etheridge was a guest on Action Line Thursday, where he said the call came in from the Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center Tuesday evening at about 6:00 p.m.
"One of our visitors was up visiting the glacier, had chest pain, and collapsed," said Etheridge. "A bystander started CPR and someone grabbed an AED, hooked it up, and shocked the gentleman all before the rescuers got there. When they arrived, the guy was awake and talking to them. It was just your classic, textbook CPR save; it couldn't have gone any better than that."

The out of town man, estimated at 60 years old, was later medevaced out of town.

The chief was asked how people can learn how to use an AED, or automatic external defibrillator.

"We can help out with some one-on-one if people have any questions. AEDs are all over the community in a lot of places. There are a couple of places to learn from here in town; the Red Cross does classes, and Southeast Fire Extinguisher does classes as well."

Etheridge also revealed that a longtime Juneau firefighter is retiring.

"Long-time friend and firefighter Eric Goldsberry has been with the department for over 22 years, and he's turned in his retirement paperwork and worked his last shift. Right now, he's kind of buttoning stuff up to go south and help his mom out for a while. I always looked up to him as being the water rescue guy out there on the rafts, helping out. He's been a big part of the department for a long time."

And it's shaping up as another record year for Capital City Fire Rescue, with the fire department exceeding 4,000 calls for the first time ever in 2015.

"We're up 150 calls from where we were this time last year. Fire calls are down a little bit, but medical calls and people that need some kind of assistance are definitely on the climb."

The chief fully expects another record year coming up, saying they anticipate a roughly 2% increase per year.

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