This past Sunday in the town of Gan Ner next to Afula, an 84-year-old man suffered a sudden heart attack and collapsed on the couch in his home. At the same time, Shlomi Asaraf, a United Hatzalah volunteer EMT and the local Deputy Chapter Head of the Afula region was relaxing on his back porch. Shlomi lives across the street from where the emergency was taking place and heard the screams coming from the house across the street.

Shlomi’s radio was silent, as the call for help hadn’t even gone out yet. Shlomi instinctively grabbed his equipment and ran toward the screams. He arrived at the location which was about 40 meters away in less than 60 seconds. Upon arrival, he found a distressed caretaker pointing to the couch where the man had collapsed. Working quickly, Shlomi assessed the man had suffered a cardiac arrest, called for backup and quickly attached the defibrillator to the man’s chest. He administered one shock and the man, who seconds before was not breathing and pulseless, had regained a pulse.

Shlomi updated dispatch and requested an ambulance. He continued to administer treatment and monitor the man’s vital signs. The caretaker had already called the man’s son who while extremely concerned, was both shocked and relieved to see his father already awake and even able to say a few words. It took close to twenty minutes until an ambulance arrived to transport the man to the hospital for further treatment.

Shlomi has since been in touch with the man’s son who reported that his father is in serious, yet stable condition. Shlomi, a volunteer for over seven years emphasized the importance of having fully equipped and alert volunteers throughout the country, especially in the smaller towns in rural areas. “I heard the screams before the caretaker even had a chance to run to the phone to call for emergency services. In fact, while they were running to the phone, I was already running to help my collapsed neighbor. This is the type of emergency where it is so clear that time is of the essence and that if speedy medical treatment is administered it can and does save lives.”

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