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Device, training saves life of collapsed referee

GETZVILLE, N.Y. (WIVB) – Excellent training and a clever device were behind the life saving actions of a middle school coach and a math teacher.


“I saw the ref laying down, the coach was assessing him, and he told me he didn’t feel a pulse,” Chuck Swierski, a Williamsville North math teacher, said.


That’s when a crowd of concerned parents formed around the referee. They started performing CPR, but he didn’t even have a pulse.


Coach Rick Bubar and Swierski went searching for an automated external defibrillator (AED), the device which they were trained to use in that exact situation.


“I found the AED, yelled to the coach that I had it, and we went back into the room,” Swierski said.


From the moment they opened the device, it guided them in what to do. The machine assessed the referee’s condition and when they were directed to give the referee a shock, they followed its directions.


After two more rounds of CPR, they saw progress.


“When we started the second set, I saw him move and someone else said I felt him squeeze my hand,” Swierski said.


When the referee started gaining consciousness, Getzville’s Volunteer Fire company arrived and Assistant Fire Chief, Greg Burrow, took over.


“I’d like to give credit to the teachers and parents for what they did,” Burrow said. “Us at Getzville, we didn’t have to do too much for a change.”

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