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FAA Focus Newsletter: Life of FAA Service Manager Saved by Quick Reponse of Emergency University-Trained FAA Technicians

Emergency University manages the SCA response program for the Federal Aviation Administration. The company provides specialized training and orientation programs for more than 20,000 FAA employees at 198 locations. Since 2009, FAA employees have responded to nine SCA incidents. One hundred percent of the victims received an effective response – in stark contrast to the national average of two percent. The following article appeared in the January 2015 edition of the FAA Focus Newsletter.


Not Enough Words in Any Language

The life of FAA Engineering Services Manager Wilfredo Perea was saved by the quick response of FAA Technicians Mike Flaugher and Jim French after he collapsed from a sudden cardiac arrest at work.

October 9 started out much like any other day for FAA Technicians Jim French and Mike Flaugher of the Federal Aviation Administration’s Louisville, Kentucky System Support Center. They had routine maintenance activities planned at the Bowman Field Airport Tower, but circumstance and fate would alter their plans.

FAA Services Manager Wilfredo Perea Flaugher stopped by the office on the third floor of the tower to check in with Wilfredo Perea, an engineering services project manager. Upon entering the office, he noticed the engineer was lying on the floor unconscious and unresponsive with wide open and "bugged out" eyes, an apparent victim of cardiac arrest. Perea remembers little from that day.

"That day, I was expecting my wife to visit me from Jacksonville, Fla., and I was going to pick her up at the Louisville Airport after I finished my day. My last call to my wife was at 2:53 p.m., according to my phone records. Shortly after that, Mike found me lying on the floor."

Upon finding Perea, Flaugher assessed the situation and called for French, who was just outside the office. Flaugher immediately called Emergency Services. French evaluated the victim and noted he had no pulse and was not breathing.

That’s when French’s years of training as a volunteer firefighter and first responder kicked in. He began to administer CPR to Perea while Flaugher stayed on the line with the Emergency Services operator per the operator’s request. Fifteen precious minutes ticked by before the Emergency Services arrived on site. An Emergency Services technician used an automated external defibrillator (AED) to restore a sinus rhythm and transported Perea to the hospital.

Perea had indeed suffered a cardiac arrest and underwent quintuple bypass surgery. After a relatively brief hospital stay, he was home with his family and a full recovery is expected with minimal damage.

"I found out that Jim and Mike helped save my life two days after I had my open heart surgery," recalled Perea. "For me, Jim and Mike are simply heroes and I am alive today because of what they did. There isn’t a gift big enough to give, there aren’t enough words on any language, nothing seems adequate or appropriate. All I can do is say, 'Thank you.'"

Training, experience, and quick action led to the rescue efforts that saved Perea’s life. Sudden Cardia Arrest (SCA) is the leading cause of death in working-age adults. According to a 2012 National Utstein Report, there is only a four percent survival rate for an un-witnessed out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.

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