Above the Call

Heart‑attack victim saved by 2 men previously honored for life‑saving rescues

Man stands in front of Sierra Conservation Center prison, with hands on hips.
Daniel Kirk, a correctional counselor II at Sierra Conservation Center, helped save a man's life.

CDCR staff member goes Above the Call at meeting

By Don Chaddock, Inside CDCR
Office of Public and Employee Communications

A heart-attack victim is alive today thanks to the actions of a Sierra Conservation Center staff member.

On Aug. 7, 2019, the Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors meeting came to a halt when a man in the audience collapsed while sitting in his chair. Luckily, Correctional Counselor II Supervisor Daniel Kirk as well as another former employee were attending the meeting and took life-saving steps to save the man. (Editor’s note: In 2017, Kirk was awarded a Bronze Star by CDCR for saving a traffic accident victim.)

Kirk rushed to the scene where he and two others, former SCC Community Resources Manager Dameion Renault and county Recreation Manager Erik Aitken, laid the man on the ground. A person in the crowd yelled out that it was her brother-in-law and that he had a heart attack last year as well as bypass surgery. (Editor’s note: In 2017, Renault was awarded a Gold Star by CDCR for saving several traffic accident victims.)

Life-saving measures for heart attack

Realizing the man probably had another heart attack, Kirk grabbed the automated external defibrillator (AED). While getting the AED ready, the victim’s pulse stopped. He showed no signs of life.

While the two others removed the man’s shirt, Kirk assembled the AED and placed it where needed. One shock was given. Renault began chest compressions while Aitken gave rescue breaths.

After two cycles of compressions and rescue breaths, the subject’s heart began beating.

Soon, the subject regained consciousness and was eventually transported by air ambulance to a regional hospital.

The heart attack victim happens to be the brother of Correctional Counselor II David Krieg, who works at SCC alongside Kirk.

The victim is expected to recover, according to Kirk.

Previous life-saving rescues

In December 2016, Kirk had just picked up his son from daycare and was headed home when he came upon a three-vehicle accident.

An 89-year-old woman was disoriented by the crash and sitting in her vehicle when smoke began to come from under the engine compartment.

Fearing the vehicle would catch fire, Kirk calmed the woman and then he carried her to safety.

He stabilized the injured woman and stayed with her until medical help arrived.

Also in 2016, as Renault was driving home, he witnessed a two-car collision that caused one vehicle to roll down an embankment, landing on its top.

Only a wire fence and a few small trees kept the vehicle from a 30-foot drop. The vehicle also was leaking fuel.

As Mr. Renault began pulling victims from the vehicle, the fence showed signs of giving away.

Yelling for others at the top of the embankment to help, he directed them to form a human chain to rescue two adults and two children from the wreck.

Read more stories of heroic actions by CDCR staff (link opens new tab).

Learn more about heart health (all links below open new tabs)