Heart attack survivor and family thank first responders for savi - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Heart attack survivor and family thank first responders for saving his life

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It was an emotional evening for David Klepper. For the first time, his family met the men and women of Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Station 22 in Springfield, Va. -- the very men and women who are responsible for saving his life.

The Pennsylvania native was in town for business back on November 28, 2012. He was working out at the Hilton hotel where he was staying when he felt chest pains. He asked the staff to call 911, and medics arrived within minutes.

Captain Todd Barb says Klepper's decision to take action as soon as he felt symptoms was crucial. According to Barb, "Early access to CPR is very important. Every minute that CPR is not being performed, there's a 10 percent chance you're not going to make it."

Klepper was conscious when the medics arrived, but went into cardiac arrest inside the ambulance. The crew used a defibrillator and performed CPR, and was able to fully resuscitate him on the way to the hospital.

Barb says in his 25 years on the job, he has seen hundreds of cardiac arrests, but he has only seen six full resuscitations.

After receiving a coronary stent at Inova Fairfax Hospital, Klepper spent several days in the hospital in Pennsylvania. He has now made a full recovery and adopted a healthier lifestyle, losing 70 pounds.

His children wrote thank you letters to the firefighters and paramedics, but also insisted on thanking them in person. Klepper's 15-year-old daughter, Delaney, told the crew, "You guys are real life heroes. You saved my dad. You saved my family."

Fairfax County officials say seconds can mean the difference between life and death when it comes to heart attacks. They say stories like these are a good reminder about the importance of learning CPR.

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