In June 2016, 9-1-1 dispatcher, Stephanie Cifuentes took a call that forever changed the life of a Wasco family. Cifuentes guided Kishna Nored over the phone through life-saving CPR after Nored’s husband, Stephen, suffered a sudden cardiac arrest.
“He’s not breathing! Oh my god!” Nored exclaimed after her husband showed no signs of life on June 5, 2016.
“Ma’am, I need you to stay calm so you can help him,” Cifuentes, who also is a certified training officer with the Bakersfield Fire Dept., responded. She guided Nored through CPR and chest compressions.
“I need you to lay him flat on his back and remove any pillows,” Cifuentes calmly said over the phone. “We’re going to help him breathe a little easier,” she continued. “I need you to pump the chest at least twice per second and at least two inches deep. Let the chest come all the way up between pumps. We’re going to do this 600 times or until help can take over. I want you to count out loud so that I can count with you. 1,2 3,4, 1, 2, 3, 4!”
Thanks to Stephanie’s step-by-step instructions, Stephen survived.
On Friday, more than two years later, the Nored family decided to surprise Stephanie at the emergency communications center to say thank you.
But Cifuentes had no idea. She thought she “would be giving a tour of the communications center.”
Then she learned the truth; she was actually the Nored family a tour, including Stephen, the man whose life she helped save.
“Two years ago, you took a call,” Kishna Nored, with tears in her eyes, told Cifuentes midway through the tour. “He had gone into cardiac arrest. You had coached me through, you calmed me down. You taught me over the phone how to give CPR.”
Next to her husband and two children, Nored gratefuly shared the story of surivial with Cifuentes.
“Firemen got there,[and] got him to the hospital. He wasn’t expected to live. He was pulled off life support, [and] expected to die. Speaking to the doctors, because of you and the training you gave me over the phone allowed me to save him.”
Later asked whether she was a hero, Stephanie rejected the idea.
“I wouldn’t say I’m a hero,” she stated with a chuckle. “I just come in and do my job, and I didn’t do anything that anyone in here wouldn’t have done either.”
The Nored family begged to differ.
“We will never be able to repay you. Ever,” said Nored while hugging Cifuentes.
Two years after the ordeal, Stephen Nored said he needs medications, but added, most importantly, he is alive and feeling great.