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'Heart Safe'-Trained Fmr. City Council Member's Quick CPR Saves A Life

COON RAPIDS, Minn. (WCCO) -- For the fifth time in four years someone in Coon Rapids is alive thanks to the skills taught by the city's Heart Safe program.

The young mother was at work when she suddenly went into full cardiac arrest. That's when a former city councilwoman heard the commotion and came to her co-worker's aid.

Feb. 6 started out like any other workday at the law firm of Babcock, Mannella and Klint in Coon Rapids. But by 10 a.m., everything stopped, when a young female employee suddenly slumped over at her desk. She was in full cardiac arrest.

"We could tell right away she wasn't breathing," Denise Klint said.

Klint was just down the hall and heard the call for help. The former city council member learned cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) along with her council colleagues as part of the city's Heart Safe program.

"Brian taught us to do it to the tune of 'Staying Alive', so I'm saying that out loud," Klint said.

She kept performing the rapid chest compressions until police and paramedics took over. The woman was then transported to Mercy Hospital for cardiac treatment and is now back home.

For Klint, it's been emotional thinking of everything that happened. She'll never forget the blank stare of the woman's eyes as she leaned over her lifeless body.

"I just thought, 'She needs help. We've got to do this, just do it,'" Klint recalled.

Klint was trained by Coon Rapids Police Officer Brian Platz, who heads up the city's Heart Safe program. Platz says what you have to remember is the ripple effect that CPR has on the friends and family members of the patient.

"The hour and a half that she spent with me three years ago – now, a child still has a mother and parents likely still have a daughter," Platz said.

Four years since starting the city's Heart Safe program, more than 15,000 residents like Klint have learned the lifesaving skill.

"So as the bystander, what you do in that first three minutes while waiting for help determines life or death. That's it," Platz said.

And what's more satisfying than saving another's life? For Denise Klint it's as simple as rising to the challenge without giving it a second thought.

"I did save a life and we weren't attending a funeral," Klint said.

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