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'Hero' chief proves CPR works
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Newton County Fire Chief Kevin O’Brien, like all firefighters, justly advocates for public CPR training.

It works, fire chiefs say every chance they get. It saves lives. Often, the training is free. There’s no excuse for not knowing what to do if a family member’s heart suddenly stops beating.

Recently, O’Brien proved its worth. While visiting his parents for a dinner he hadn’t originally planned to attend, his dad collapsed with a heart attack.

O’Brien sprang to work, applying the steady “one, two, three” heart-pumping pressure recommended by CPR trainers. He did it for more than eight minutes, when arriving paramedics took over.

He saved his dad’s life.

Chairman Keith Ellis was blunt about it at the Board of Commissioners’ last meeting: “You are indeed a hero.”

At a meeting marred by contentious debate, the commission and the 120 or so people watching from audience broke into applause, then a standing ovation, honoring the chief in a display we’re frankly proud of. Even in the midst of strong disagreement, the county can come together to do what’s right.

O’Brien is a hero. A real one. No cape, but he saved his dad’s life. Not even Batman can claim that.

The message here is simple: O’Brien, and fire chiefs everywhere, are right. CPR training is a no-brainer. It works.

Because of that training, because O’Brien paid attention to his instructors, his dad is alive.

For a list of worthwhile Georgia public safety links, and for more information about the fire department and its programs, visit