Aurora Police Detective Sgt. Dan Kalk got ready for work July 9 like it was any other summer morning. He looked out the window to check the weather at about 7:30 a.m., and instead of seeing a car driving past or an early-morning dog walker, he saw his neighbor experiencing a medical emergency laying unconscious in his driveway across the street.
Kalk, who has been with the Aurora Police Department since 1998 and was named the 2016 Portage County Crisis Intervention Team Officer of the Year and 2018 Aurora Police Department Officer of the Year, immediately ran out with only one thought on his mind: “I needed to save his life for him and his family,” Kalk wrote in an email.
While his wife called 911, Kalk started to render life-saving emergency first aid, as all Aurora police officers and dispatchers receive first responder emergency medical training. He was able to return his neighbor to a conscious and talking state by the time local police and fire departments arrived on scene to transport him to University Hospitals Ahuja Medical Center in Beachwood.
“As a police officer and a first responder, we train constantly for this type of situation. Stress, fear and panic are not things we think about or deal with during an emergency. We are focused on the emergency itself and focused on helping and protecting the members of the community,” he wrote.
Later that day at work, Kalk received a telephone call from his wife who was contacted by his neighbor’s wife that his neighbor was doing well and would be released later that day.
After being released, Kalk’s neighbor, wife and children brought pizza to Kalk’s home for both families to enjoy as a thank you, according to a Facebook post made by the Aurora Police Department. His neighbor informed Kalk that had it not been for him, there was a possibility he would have never seen his family again.
Happy his efforts to rescue his neighbor succeeded, Kalk encourages others to prepare for the chance they might end up in a similar experience and need to administer emergency first aid. Kalk advises everyone take an emergency first aid course, own a first aid kit, learn CPR and how to use an automated external defibrillator and talk to local fire departments and the American Heart Association about classes they offer.
“Plan and prepare in advance. Do not wait for an emergency to happen. Be ready just in case. The life you save may be your child, grandchild, spouse or friend,” he wrote.