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On a recent Tuesday night, I had some friends over for a card game. During the game, one player had a life-threatening heart malfunction and passed out.

We immediately called 911, and here is what unfolded.

The 911 operator called an ambulance and the Champaign Fire Department.

Firefighters were at my house within three minutes.

We had performed some CPR and were following the 911 operator’s directions.

Firefighters Todd Hitt, Barry Miller and Paul Doyle immediately checked my friend’s mouth to be sure he had not swallowed anything and his throat was clear.

For the next 40 minutes, our group witnessed a high-speed extraordinary display of competence and skill.

The firefighters attached a heart monitor and continued CPR. They stabilized Bob, working faster and better than I have ever seen at any emergency room.

After he was stabilized as best possible, the ambulance staff took him to the hospital. A hospital physician said the rapid response saved his life.

He remained unconscious for over 24 hours. Following a terrifying “standard of care” — 24 hours wait on life support — life support was removed. Currently in intensive care at Carle, he seems to have fully recovered.

It was an amazing display of competence by the Champaign Fire Department.