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Landis firefighters honored for reviving local man

By Natalie Anderson
natalie.anderson@salisburypost.com

LANDIS — When Landis firefighters last month responded to a call where a local man was unconscious and unresponsive, they spent more than half an hour performing CPR and ultimately revived him.

Landis Public Safety Director Zachary Lechette recognized those firefighters earlier this week with a letter of commendation for a life-saving award. The firefighters included Lt. Kevin Johnson and Lt. Clarence “Bryan” Cook, firefighters Tyler Hanes, Kevin Radish and Rodney Wilhoit as well as with engineer Todd Bittle.

On Jan. 16, around 8:30 p.m., those honored by Lechette responded to a medical assistance call with the China Grove and Atwell Departments. Upon arriving, the first responders located a man on the floor. And with the assistance of Rowan County EMS, they performed CPR on the man for more than 30 minutes before he eventually reached a return of spontaneous circulation, which means his blood pressure and pulse rate returned. The patient was then transported to the hospital for medical care.

“The members of the Landis Fire Department exhibited exceptional acts of humanity while being directly responsible for saving a human life,” Lechette said in the letter. “This extraordinary performance of duty is in keeping with the highest traditions of the fire service and reflects great credit unto them, the Landis Fire Department and the entire firefighting profession.”

Cook told the Post that this incident shows CPR works. He tries to remember calls like this more than the bad ones.

“We were just doing our jobs,” he said. “It’s good to be recognized for doing our jobs, but that’s not why we do them.”

Lechette was hired in December to begin a new role of overseeing both the fire and police departments as the town’s Public Safety Director. Along with the new role, he says, comes with a commitment to continue honoring the hard word and dedication from both departments. He called this letter of commendation “the first of many to come.”

“On the heels of everything that happened (in Landis), it’s very important to showcase that there is hardworking and dedicated people who provide a service to the town every day,” Lechette told the Post. “That’s what they try to do every day — save lives.”

Currently, the police department has about a dozen full-time positions, and the fire department has six full-time firefighters, complemented with some volunteers and part-time firefighters who assist with shifts. Eventually, the goal is to build a program that includes public safety officers who are trained to assist with both fire and police services. But one important first step includes hiring a “second-in-command” for both departments and promoting a few others, which Lechette said is currently underway.

Contact reporter Natalie Anderson at 704-797-4246. 

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