Kildare Fire Chief suffers heart attack; CPR credited with saving his life

September 7, 2022 | Featured|Headlines

KILDARE — Kildare Volunteer Fire Chief Travis Harris suffered a heart attack this weekend and is recovering in a Tulsa hospital.

His wife, Terri, shared the following post on Facebook in hopes of encouraging others to learn CPR, as her knowledge of CPR is being cited as the reason Harris is alive.

Ponca City Fire Chief Butch Herring said the department teaches the Friends and Family Level CPR and that it is not for certification. Those interested in taking a CPR course can call the Ponca City Fire Department at 580-767-0368.

“CPR saved Travis’s life. He has agreed to make this story public believing it worth it if just one life is saved. 

Sunday, September 4, at 4:30 am Travis went into cardiac arrest. We were in bed asleep. I was alerted by ragged, horrific sounds he was making as his body fought for oxygen. Then he went silent. I was frankly hysterical.  I called 911 and told them what was going on and where I was. Then, through God and adrenaline, I pulled him off the bed and onto the floor and began chest compressions. I did as many as I could and as hard as I could through panic and tears. All I kept thinking was, “This can’t be happening!”  It felt like forever and the ambulance wasn’t there. As I called back, I saw the emergency lights at the corner through our bedroom window. 

The paramedic came in and took over, followed by the ambulance crew. They attached the AED pads and shocked him once in the house. They then took him to the ambulance and rushed to the hospital. As I drove to meet him, praying all the way, I had no idea whether I would soon behold a miracle or I would be a widow at 54.  I later learned they shocked him again in the ambulance and got him back. Ultimately he was life-flighted to Tulsa and sent to ICU, sedated and on a ventilator.

Today is Wednesday. Three days later and the only clue anything happened is the difficulty he has coughing because CPR broke his ribs. This is only true because my early intervention CPR bought time. We live in the country and, based on my call times. it was 12 minutes from first call to medic arrival. Had I not known and used CPR, the outcome of this event would not have been good. One of his nurses says only about 20% of patients who have a cardiac arrest outside of a hospital survive. Early intervention is the key!

If you don’t know CPR, please take a CPR class. If you’ve taken a class, take refresher classes. Learn everything you can. The minutes you could give your loved one in crisis could be the difference between life and death. 

Words cannot begin to express the joy and relief I have to be given even one more day with Travis. God forbid you ever find yourself in the same situation with your loved one, I pray you know how to do CPR so you can give them time until help arrives.”