Duke Energy workers use AED, save man having heart attack

CITRUS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – Duke Energy workers are being hailed as heroes after they helped save a Citrus County man when he had a heart attack.

Robert Olsen, of Homosassa, was able to personally thank Chris Damewood, Stephen Shaffer, Jesse Ginley and Justin Barr Thursday during a reunion.

“I can’t thank you guys enough.  I mean, I was dead. I was dead and you guys brought me back to life. I don’t know how to thank you,” said Olsen.

The crew was working on Vinca Street two weeks ago, when they noticed Olsen laying in the road.

“I was going down the road driving.  All of a sudden, I just went into cardiac arrest,” he said.

Olsen’s wife, Rise, was in the car with him.

“We were coming down the street, so the car kind of went off the road this way, right about here, he was starting to go off the road,” she said.

She initially pulled him out the car and started CPR. She saw the Duke Energy workers running her way.

“I checked for the pulse, there was no pulse, he wasn’t breathing,” said Duke Energy worker Chris Damewood.  “I told her I know AED, I know CPR, is it okay if I take over.”

Duke Energy crews keep an AED in every unit.

“You pray that you never have to use it on a coworker or anybody, but when the situation comes up like he said, everybody jumped into action,” said Duke Energy worker, Jesse Ginley.

Damewood said the AED started working as soon as they attached it to Olsen’s body.

“It analyzed him. It shocked him and at that point he started coming to a little bit,” he said.

“He started to have a little bit of a pulse. Told me to keep doing compressions for another four minutes or so, and by the time the cops and ambulance got there, they walked up, checked his pulse, said ‘he’s good to go. Let’s get him on the stretcher.’ He came back, he was breathing.  It was amazing.”

Olsen, a retired firefighter, spent a week in the hospital. He never got a chance to thank his heroes, until Thursday.

“I got to thank Duke Energy too for training you guys and carrying the defibrillators, ’cause if you guys didn’t have it, I’m telling you, if you didn’t have the training and the defibrillator, I’d be dead,” he said.

Duke Energy crews train every two years on how to do CPR and use a defibrillator.

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