Cayucos first responders are the best

Jerry May will continue to serve the Cayucos Lions, Cayucos Art Association and Cayucos Seniors after he celebrates his 90th Valentine’s Day birthday this weekend. But he and wife Paula weren’t sure he’d make it to 2012.

“I’d like everyone in Cayucos to know our community has excellent first responders. Don’t delay. Call 911 if you have an emergency. They saved my life,” Jerry said. “We’d just come home from our anniversary dinner. I had indigestion, I thought. I fell back into my chair. I only remember Paula screaming at me.”

Paula continued, “I told him I wasn’t going to plan his party without his help. I called 911 at 8:45 (p.m.). They must have been on the roof, because they were here in seconds.

“They put him on oxygen and then the paramedics were here.

“They asked which hospital. I said his records were at Sierra Vista (Regional Medical Center in San Luis Obispo), and we were there by 9:20.

“They were ready for him. I was told his blood pressure was so low, five more minutes and we would have lost him.”

Paula said she learned a few good tips:

“Falling in his chair was good. Sitting is better than lying. Don’t drive a spouse to the hospital. Call 911. Jerry would not have made it without immediate care of the Cayucos Fire (Department and paramedics). Don’t drive? The Cayucos Lions or Seniors have people who will drive you to visit your loved one.”

Cayucos fire Chief Bill Radke said their response averages two to three minutes. The department is also affiliated with Cal Fire Station 11 in town.

“I’ve been with the department long enough to remember when our equipment and training was minimal. Field operations during Vietnam advanced today’s treatment, transport and even GPS mapping. In Cayucos we are all part- time servers, but willing and trained to help our neighbors and community.”

A 911 emergency call is relayed from the San Luis Obispo County Sheriff’s Office and County/Cal Fire dispatchers simultaneously to the Cayucos Fire Department and Morro Bay’s San Luis Ambulance station, or to the Cambria Community Healthcare District ambulance service.

“We arrive to stabilize and treat. Within five to six minutes, (paramedics) arrive to treat and recommend transport if needed,” the fire chief explained. “Cayucos firemen are trained in basic or advanced life support and available 24/7. Cayucos runs about 255 calls a year.”

Betsy Watts, Cayucos Seniors president, suggested Vial of Life magnet kits, which provide critical information to first responders.

“Keep (them) updated on the refrigerator,” she said. “Access to good information can be lifesaving at any age.”

She also recommended getting a resource guide produced by the Area Agency on Aging at the Cayucos Senior Center, 200 S. Ocean Ave., or by calling 995-3543.

Reach Judy Salamacha at judysalamacha@gmail.com or 801-1422.