NKF&R board honors local rescuers

KINGSTON — The North Kitsap Fire & Rescue Board of Commissioners and staff members recently extended their gratitude to several emergency personnel for “making the difference between life and death.”

At the board’s Monday evening meeting, seven people were honored for participating in life-saving incidents over the past year. Spokeswoman Michele Laboda wrote up their stories:

— On Aug. 1, local resident Josh Munger, an off-duty Vashon Island Fire & Rescue captain, was driving from his Jefferson Beach home with his sons when he saw a cloud of dust. At first thinking it was coming from someone mowing a lawn, Munger saw that the debris was the result of a motor-vehicle collision: a pickup truck had left the roadway and struck a large tree. Munger directed another passerby to call 911 while he went to check on the truck’s occupants – Tony and Anthony Woelke of Kingston. Anthony, Tony’s son, was driving and was conscious but shaken up. Munger observed Tony was conscious but highly agitated due to shock. Munger waited with the two until NKF&R units arrived.

— In the early morning hours of Oct. 12, Clearwater Casino security personnel learned that a man appeared to be ill on the gaming floor. The first-arriving security officer, Crystal Rudebeck, found the man unresponsive on the floor and barely breathing. Security officer James McCaskey brought the facility’s automated external defibrillator (AED) as the man stopped breathing. Rudebeck prepared to begin CPR if necessary while McCaskey placed the AED pads on the man’s chest, which delivered a shock. As personnel from NKF&R and Poulsbo Fire Department arrived on the scene, the man began to regain consciousness, and a Poulsbo Fire paramedic transported the man to the hospital.

— Suquamish Police Department Officer Adam Yates was passing by the Suquamish Tribal Center on the afternoon of Oct. 16 when he saw Jim Pratt, a Tribal elder, collapse outside. Yates started CPR and was joined seconds later by his colleagues Sgt. Mark Williams, Deputy Chief Domingo Almirol and Officer Sam White, while NKF&R units were in route. The four worked as a team to continue CPR and to deliver a life-saving shock with an AED. NKF&R members salute SPD’s commitment to medical training and equipment as well as the officers themselves, whose decisive and effective actions made the difference between life and death that day.

“Well, you can say I had a shocking experience,” Pratt said on Monday.

Along with certificates of appreciation, NKF&R firefighters donated gift certificates to the honorees to show their appreciation.

“How wonderful it is [when] people step up and become a part of our team,” Laboda said after the ceremony. “It means people suffering from injury and illness have a greater, greater chance of recovery.”


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