September 11, 2016 5:58 pm admin
by Warren Horst
When West Sayville firefighter Kenneth Van Essendelft left his home on the evening of August 25 to attend his company meeting, he had no idea the adage “Being in the right place at the right time” would come into play for him.
Having time to spare, he decided to watch the fire department’s Flying Dutchmen Drill Team prepare for the additional contests included in the upcoming Islip Town Volunteer Firemen’s Association drill before stepping inside to attend the meeting. Moments later it happened – quickly and without warning – he collapsed next to the fence adjoining the practice road. Those standing nearby called out for an ambulance.
Alerted by the cry for help, fire department members immediately rushed over to find their colleague suffering from seizures. As they began a patient assessment Van Essendelft slipped into a pulseless state and stopped breathing. Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was initiated and an airway inserted to aid in getting oxygen into his lungs. Simultaneously, an automated external defibrillator (AED), oxygen and first aid supplies were retrieved from the apparatus in the firehouse and readied for use. Meanwhile, those fire department members not directly involved in providing medical care hurried to move cars in the parking lot to allow the responding Community Ambulance Company crew unimpeded access to the patient as well as kept onlookers at a distance and direct traffic.
Manual resuscitative efforts were continued for several anxious minutes in accordance with instructions from the AED which, after analyzations and two shocks, restored Van Essendelft’s pulse. A quick response from the Community Ambulance Company found the patient to be revived and holding his own upon their arrival. At that point patient care was transferred to the Community Ambulance responders while fire department members helped package and move Van Essendelft into the ambulance for transport to Southside Hospital.
As it was, Van Essendelft was discharged from the hospital to his home one week after the episode and briefly made an appearance at the drill team’s state tournament victory party just two days after that.
West Sayville Fire Department Chief Lucus Domingo praised the quick, life-saving efforts of the firefighters and drill team members that responded to the call. The Chief pointed out that teamwork, in a much different form than had been underway at the practice session, meant the difference between life and death. Had they not been there to immediately intervene, the outcome might have been much direr.
Chief Domingo gratefully commends the determined efforts of Captain Richard Quenzer, Ex-Captain Michael Chiesa, Ex-Chief Gary A. Schaum and Firefighters Ryan Huguenin, William Hothan and Casey Johnson for providing life-saving care to their fellow firefighter. Also instrumental in making the outcome a positive success were Captain Brian D’Onofrio, Drill Team Captain Michael Marra, Firefighters Patrick Garrett, Ryan Tenney, Daniel Tenney, Frank R. Miller, Jr., Casey Quinn, Jeremy Sommeso and Joseph Quenzer as well as the balance of the Flying Dutchmen Drill Team.