Park City police officer credited with rushing to save a life at salon
Terry Knechtel, a veteran Park City Police Department officer, was on duty at noon on Aug. 31, a busy Saturday in the city during the three-day Labor Day weekend.
The Police Department received a report of a man who had collapsed inside a salon on Kearns Boulevard. Knechtel was the first to arrive at Hair Solutions, on the 1300 block of Kearns Boulevard. Phil Kirk, a police captain, said Knechtel found a man on the floor of the salon. He was not moving and had stopped breathing, Kirk said. Knechtel called for an ambulance to respond.
Knechtel, trained in life-saving techniques like the other officers, started CPR on the man as the ambulance was in route. The officer continued the chest compressions as the ambulance arrived. The man was stabilized as he was taken to the hospital, Kirk said, crediting Knechtel for the officer’s quick response and recognizing the need for CPR. He said it “certainly looks like he probably saved the individual’s life,” Kirk said.
“The fact that he actually did that and probably did save this individual’s like is something worth commendation,” Kirk said.
The ambulance took the man to the University of Utah Hospital in Salt Lake City. Details about his condition were not available.
The Police Department is considering Knechtel for an award for his response at the salon. Knechtel is also known in Park City as the police officer who organizes the agency’s Citizens Academy, a program designed to introduce the public to police work through classroom sessions, field trips and demonstrations. The Park Record was unable to contact Knechtel.
The staff at the salon was working what was a typical Saturday when the person, who was not a customer, arrived. Brittnie Dayton, a Hair Solutions stylist, said the man walked in and asked the staff to call one of his friends.
Dayton said he apologized for his behavior and told the people at the salon he was suffering a heart attack. He became emotional and laid on the floor in the front of the salon, she said. Someone at the salon called 911 on a cellphone, Dayton said. She said neither of the salon staffers working at the time are trained to perform CPR.
She said Knechtel quickly arrived, checked the man’s pulse and started to administer CPR.
“You just don’t know what’s going to happen. Are you watching someone die on the floor,” Dayton said, indicating the salon staffers took one young client to the back so the girl would not witness the life-saving work on the man.
The Police Department is amid an annual CPR recertification for officers. Some of the officers on Thursday worked on the recertification. A police officer is the first to arrive at the scene in many cases, Kirk said, since the officers are on patrol while an ambulance normally must be dispatched from a station.
“We might be responsible for saving that individual’s life because a few seconds can make the difference,” Kirk said.
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