By Ann Rowland
Firefighters across the country routinely take part in training exercises to ensure that they are prepared to rescue people who find themselves in life threatening situations. Tallahassee, Florida firefighters are no different and are dispatched out to 12,000 calls a year and the training they received has helped them save many people. On November 14, they were called upon to save one of their own.
During a recent physical fitness training exercise, Tallahassee firefighter Steve Box, 55, collapsed while climbing a 5 story building wearing his fire coat, helmet and air pack. One of his fellow firefighters told WTXL-Tallahassee “We turned the trucks down and heard another yell. By the nature of the yell, we could tell something was wrong.”
Another firefighter described the scene at the 3rd floor landing where Box was lying unconscious and not breathing. “I think we all kind of got to the top of those stairs and took a second and tried to figure out if this was dream or if it was reality.”
Firefighters quickly moved Box to a table where they performed CPR and used a defibrillator to shock his heart. Once Box was revived, he was transported to a local hospital. At the hospital, doctors assessed that he had suffered a heart attack due to arterial blockage. He underwent several hours of surgery and is recovering.
Box knows that he was very fortunate to have suffered the heart attack when help was so close. “I could have been anywhere. It was just the luck of the draw. I was so just lucky because I was here and had a lot of paramedics, guys just doing what they do”, Box told WTXL.
Box and his family are very thankful to his fellow firefighters for their quick action which more than likely saved his life. “I don’t think I can give you enough words to say how thankful I am,” Box told WTXL-Tallahassee. “I’ll never forget them for the rest of my life. They will be embedded in my mind.”
Box was interview at the training facility and has a renewed passion for his job, part of which is saving lives. He is anxious to return the favor to someone else who finds themselves in a similar situation.
“It’s part of my job,” Box said.