CENTRAL KITSAP — On the evening of Nov. 10, 12-year-old Elyza Gutierrez stepped up in a huge way for her mom. After Jennifer Gutierrez had a “heart event,” Elyza performed early CPR on her mom, Jennifer, until a Central Kitsap Fire and Rescue crew arrived.
“She learned CPR on the fly on the phone from a dispatcher,” Scott Weninger, CKFR chief.
“She did everything right,” Jennifer Gutierrez said. “She thinks she’s afraid of everything, but she did completely what she had to do.”
The crew who responded to the 911 call, the Gutierrez family and friends gathered at a CKFR station March 27 to recognize Elyza, now 13, for her efforts. Elyza received a firefighter pin and a Citizen Life Saving Award.
Elliott Bresnan, a responding firefighter/paramedic, said that when they arrived at the Gutierrez house, defibrillating Jennifer was quick: they only had to shock her once.
“When you shock people, most of the time, it’s between three and 10 times,” Bresnan said. “Early CPR being done, you have a lot higher affinity to convert (to a normal heart rhythm). Because her daughter was doing CPR … we were able to shock her back into rhythm. I think we were there less than 10 minutes.”
Ivan Semerenko, another responding firefighter/emergency medical technician, said, “I think the most important part is CPR.
“You have probably a five or 10 minute window for a person to really have no deficits if their heart stops,” he said. It takes us probably five to 10 minutes to arrive on the scene. The fact that (Elyza) was able to do good CPR right away, that was the leading cause why her mom’s doing well right now.”
Bresnan added that in many cases, the people nearby don’t perform CPR, probably due to lack of training and fear of being unable to help, so Elyza performing CPR with guidance from the 911 dispatcher was a big deal.
“That really makes it stick out,” he said. (When we) do CPR, your statistics vary from area to area. Some of the times, you don’t end up transporting (to the hospital) … when you do transport and they do come out okay in the end, it’s a big win.
“This really justifies early CPR, is what you can take from this.”
Jennifer Gutierrez said she hopes others can take inspiration from Elyza, should the time ever come that they need to step up.
“Anybody can do it,” she said. “If (Elyza) can do it, then anybody can do it. Nobody should be afraid to do whatever they need to do.”
Firefighter/apparatus operator Kara Putnam and Acting Battalion Chief Dave Tucker also responded to the 911 call Nov. 10.
CKFR encourages everyone to learn CPR. CKFR offers free classes every third Thursday of the month. Call 360-447-3550 to schedule. The department also encourages everyone to install the Pulse Point application on their phones; it alerts people of any CPR needed nearby and where the closest Automated External Defibrillator is, so people can get the lifesaving help they need as quickly as possible.
For more information, visit ckfr.org.