LINCOLN, Neb. - Lincoln Fire & Rescue and Lincoln Mayor Leirion Gaylor Baird are celebrating success in one of the most crucial aspects of emergency care.

LFR responded to 148 non-traumatic calls of cardiac arrest and Lincoln’s survival rate was 16.9% -- well above the national average of 9%. 

"Lincoln Fire & Rescue responds to cardiac calls within eight minutes 81% of the time," Mayor Gailor Baird said. "Lincoln Fire & Rescue continues to meet or exceed cardiac arrest survival standards, continuing to meet and exceed those standards."

The data also showed that Lincoln residents are more likely to perform CPR when they are a bystander to a cardiac event. In 2020, about 71% of bystanders performed CPR until Lincoln Fire & Rescue arrived, compared to the national average of about 40%. LFR Chief Dave Engler says the community plays a large role in LFR’s cardiac arrest success.

"Every success we enjoy matches the hard work of each of the men and women of this organization, but also the actions and support of our community," Engler said. 

Neal Dethlefs had a firsthand experience with Lincoln Fire & Rescue.

"I was at the right place at the right time," Dethlefs said. "I was here in Lincoln, at a wedding, when I collapsed."

Dethlefs said LFR gave him a second chance at life.

"I'm here to tell you about this because I was in Lincoln when it happened," Dethlefs said. "I want to take the opportunity to thank you all [Lincoln Fire & Rescue] for giving me a second chance at life."

LFR is not settled with being one of the best in the country when responding to cardiac arrest. They are continuing to get better.

"Attention to performance, development, and community relationships will continue to help us grow into one of the best performing EMS systems in the country," Engler said. 

Mayor Gailor Baird expressed her gratitude for the work Lincoln Fire & Rescue does to keep Lincoln safe and healthy. 

"I want to thank all of our LFR employees and teammates and all the critical care providers who give us an amazing quality of life here in Lincoln."