Florida firefighter saves police officer who suffered cardiac arrest at gym

Firefighter performed CPR, used defibrillator to save officer's life

Daytona Beach Firefighter James Axiotis
Daytona Beach Firefighter James Axiotis

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – A local firefighter used CPR and a defibrillator to save the life of a Daytona Beach police officer who lost consciousness during a cardiac episode while working out at a gym in Port Orange.

Daytona Beach firefighter James Axiotis was exercising Friday when he noticed a group of people gathered around Daytona Beach police Officer Sean Walker, who was lying on the floor, unresponsive and not breathing.

Axiotis rushed over and performed CPR, then instructed a bystander to bring him a defibrillator. Officials said Walker's pulse returned after Axiotis used the defibrillator on him.

Walker was transported to a local hospital, where a cardiologist credited Axiotis for saving his life.

Walker, a former Marine who has worked for the Daytona Beach Police Department for more than eight years, has been released from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.

Axiotis has worked as a firefighter for more than nine years. He is an engineer for the department, a paramedic and a Tactical Emergency Medical Support SWAT medic for the Daytona Beach Police Department.

Officials said both men are dedicated and outstanding employees in their respective agencies and share a passion for fitness.

Friday's incident is a reminder of the importance of CPR. Approximately 90 percent of people who suffer cardiac arrest die because they didn't immediately receive CPR, according to the Daytona Beach Fire Department.

Anyone who encounters someone who is unresponsive and not breathing should call 911 then begin performing hands-only CPR by placing both hands in the center of the person's chest and pushing hard and fast until first responders arrive.

The public is also encouraged to take note of where defibrillators are located anytime they enter a business, such as a gym or restaurant.

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