By DEREK WILEY
Of the Keizertimes

Sharon Winter went to the Target at Keizer Station on Saturday, March 12 looking for Easter decorations but believes she was led to the store for a completely different reason.

On surveillance video, Winter can be seen at the front of the store falling out of a motorized cart.

“I remember feeling a little dizzy and things had a shade of blue to it, which was interesting,” Winter said. “I thought I had low blood sugar and I remember putting my hand to my head.”

Target employees Austin Snelling, left, and Brad Dickerson were honored by KFD for saving the life of Sharon Winter. (KEIZERTIMES/Derek Wiley)

Target employees Austin Snelling, left, and Brad Dickerson were honored by KFD for saving the life of Sharon Winter. (KEIZERTIMES/Derek Wiley)

Store manager Brad Dickerson was working that day and got a call for an emergency.

“It sounded very urgent so I started running,” he said.

Senior Team Leader Austin Snelling joined Dickerson at the front of the store. Winter wasn’t breathing and had no pulse so Snelling applied CPR while Dickerson prepared the AED [Automated External Defibrillator].

“Time started to kind of slow down and once I was in that moment training kicked in,” said Snelling in a video posted to Facebook by Salem Health.

Dickerson used the AED to shock Winter, which didn’t immediately revive her. He started doing chest compressions and at about 20, she came back to life.

“I hoped I was doing this right and remembering all the training that we had done,” Dickerson said. “You don’t do it often enough. The nice thing about the AED is it tells you what to do. Austin was fantastic since he had just gone through the training program. Everything kind of fell into place.”

Keizer Fire District took it from there, rushing Winter to the hospital.

“My heart rate, they figured it was over 300 beats per minute,” Winter said. “It was a full cardiac arrest. My cardiologist [Joshua Leichman] said had they [Dickerson and Snelling] not done what they did, I would have either died or I could have had brain damage. He’s amazed at how well they all did.”

KFD honored Dickerson and Snelling with the Bob Wickman Award for heroism in saving the life of another prior to its July 19 board meeting.

“I’m just glad she is okay,” Dickerson said.

Winter is grateful she was at the right place at the right time.

“I’ve felt all along that God put me in that Target store at that particular time,” she said. “It’s as simple as that. It’s a real privilege to meet these fellows. I’m real thankful to them.”

According to the Salem Health video, more than 350,000 cardiac arrests happen away from hospitals every year and only 10 percent survive.

“To me it was a miracle, an absolute miracle,” Winter said.

During last Tuesday’s meeting, the KFD board approved an AED loaner program.

Under the policy, businesses and residents of Keizer, who are at least 18 years old, successfully completed CPR training and reviewed a instructional video, can loan an AED from the district for public gatherings and sporting events within the KFD boundaries.

Requests for a loaner AED must be received no later than five business days before the event. A $1,000 deposit is required, which will not used as long as the device is returned within five days of the return date. AEDS will not be loaned for longer than 90 days.

The board also authorized the purchase of a $219,630 MSA breathing apparatus and a $186,037 new brush fire truck.

According to a letter from Division Chief Brian Butler to the board of directors, the current MSA breathing apparatus was purchased in 2006 and staying with MSA allows KFD to keep some equipment to use with the 35 new airpacks, which will save $40,000 this year.

The current brush fire truck was purchased in 1996 for $71,350 and is used to respond to wildland and brush type fires in places like Keizer Rapids and Spongs Landing Parks. The new truck will be more capable of off-road use and carry more water.

Both the breathing apparatus and truck will come from bond funds.