Lifestyle Health Firefighter Experiencing Cardiac Arrest Saved by Defibrillator He Had Just Installed at the Station When Bill Staudt pushed for an AED device to be placed in his department's building, he didn't know it was his own life that would be saved by it By Jason Hahn Jason Hahn Jason Hahn is a former Human Interest and Sports Reporter for PEOPLE. He started at PEOPLE's Los Angeles Bureau as a writer and reporter in 2017 and interviewed the likes of Kobe Bryant, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Tom Brady. He has a B.A. in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Master's degree in Journalism from Columbia University. He previously worked for Complex Magazine in New York City. People Editorial Guidelines Published on March 18, 2019 07:57 PM Share Tweet Pin Email It was last year that 63-year-old firefighter Bill Staudt noticed his station in Queens was not equipped with an automated external defibrillator device. Staudt, who has been with the FDNY for nearly four decades, submitted a request to the department’s management team for one to be placed in the building “just in case” of an emergency, he told CBS New York. Then, in September, just a few months after it was installed, Staudt would become the first life the defibrillator would save. “I went back to my desk to finish a report, and as I finished I felt a burning sensation in the center of my chest,” he told the news station. “Next thing I know it’s lights and sirens, and I’m in the back of this ambulance and I’m being taken to the hospital.” Staudt had gone into cardiac arrest, which typically causes people to lose consciousness and can be fatal in minutes. Unlike a heart attack, where there is a blockage of blood flow, cardiac arrest is induced by an electrical malfunction causes the heart to stop beating altogether, which means blood isn’t flowing anywhere in the body. CBS 2 Staudt’s fellow firefighters acted swiftly and used the same defibrillator he had lobbied for just months earlier to regulate his heartbeat until he was transported to a nearby hospital. 5-Year-Old Boy Who Went Into Cardiac Arrest Survives After an Hour of CPR: ‘His Heart Stopped’ Staudt has since had an implantable cardioverter-defibrillator placed in his chest that will be able to monitor his heart all throughout the day, according to CBS. Nearly 475,000 people die of cardiac arrest every year, the American Heart Association says, which is more than “colorectal cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer, influenza, pneumonia, auto accidents, HIV, firearms, and house fires combined.” RELATED VIDEO: Husband Saves Wife by Administering CPR as She Went Into Cardiac Arrest Weeks After Giving Birth If a defibrillator is not available outside of a hospital setting while someone is experiencing cardiac arrest, the next best course of action is to administer CPR, which increases the victim’s likelihood of survival by 90 percent, according to the organization. Today, Staudt is happy his precautionary steps to install the AED device proved useful when the time came, and he is grateful for the first responders who jumped into action. “There’s no greater reward than saving another person’s life,” he told CBS.