In your most terrifying moments, first responders are the ones you count on for help. Rescue crews have specialized equipment and training to answer the call in those first critical moments.
One woman in Chesterfield credits those crews with saving her life - and it turns out, if you live in Chesterfield County, your chance of surviving cardiac arrest is much higher.
It was the night Lori Patton died, next to her husband - at just 38 years old.
"My husband woke up to a strange snore," said Lori. "I had already passed and had started swallowing my tongue."
"She was snoring very, very loud, and my wife doesn't snore," said Jeffrey Patton. "I look at her and... I've never seen a dead person, but there's a stare, and her eyes are wide open. There's no response and there's no movement, no breathing."
Jeffrey Patton jumped to call 911, following directions over the phone, doing CPR to try to save his wife.
"I had essentially passed," said Lori.
It turns out, Lori Patton had a heart defect - the electrical part of it doesn't work, causing her heart to race and then stop working.
That night, her heart stopped. Medically, so did her life.
"It was a miracle! There are many angels in my life," said Lori.
Lori says she's alive, here to tell her story of survival, thanks to the first responders, who immediately took steps to restart her heart and had the medical training and equipment to do it.
"They're my heroes," said Lori. "I probably would not be alive today if it hadn't been for them."
Chesterfield County has it's own medical director, on staff to train and supervise how rescue crews respond to these emergencies, and life-saving equipment that they credit with upping survival rates.
"We saw our survival rate be basically what it was for the nation - in the low teens at the very best," said Robby Dawson for Chesterfield Fire and EMS. "But, because we've gotten the revenue recovery, because we've got state-of-the-art equipment, because we're much better trained, because we've got the medical director on staff. We're able to be much more successful with treating cardiac arrest patients."
Now, their survival rate is more than 32%, compared to just 21% nationwide.
Lori Patton is one of the lucky ones. Her heart restarted, and she lives a normal life now, with her husband and three children.
"Us, the Americans, can dial three numbers and have the best medical staff and EMS and everything within minutes to help us," said Jeffrey. "That's incredible to live in a country like that."
"It's still surreal to me," said Lori. "It's been a year. Life's changed. You don't take life for granted. You don't take your loved ones for granted. I live day by day, thanking God for life."
Lori now lives with an internal defibrillator. The only long term consequence of her emergency: a two week memory loss.
Rescue officials say the medical training and equipment they have worked so hard to get makes it all possible.
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