Human Interest

When Inge Jones walked into Sedona Fire District’s Station 1 on Wednesday, July 19, it was like visiting old friends.

Friends who saved her life.

On May 25 Jones was enjoying an afternoon at her Uptown home with her daughter, Suzi Heath, who stopped by to check in on her.

While talking to her mom, Heath said she noticed something was wrong. Her mother’s body went limp and she wasn’t answering her.

“I thought she was having a stroke,” she said. “I called 911 and kept screaming to the dispatcher, ‘Hurry. Hurry.’”

Within three minutes a crew from Station 4 arrived on the scene. Heath had already started mouth-to-mouth but paramedics took over and performed CPR while using a defibrillator to shock her heart.

“They came in like a hurricane and took care of her,” Heath said.

Jones survived and despite having sore ribs from the incident is doing well. Both Heath and Jones were recognized prior to the July 19 SFD Governing Board meeting by the Phoenix-based organization Arizona Cardiac Arrest Survivors.

In addition, members of the Station 4 crew on the scene that day were recognized with certificates as was the dispatcher who took the 911 call.

While Jones thought her mother was having a stroke or heart attack, it turned out it she had gone into cardiac arrest. Many may not realize there is a difference.

According to, “While a heart attack is a plumbing problem, cardiac arrest is electrical. Your heart is triggered to beat with regular electrical impulses. But if these electrical impulses become erratic — causing an irregular heartbeat called an arrhythmia — the pump may not work. While they’re different problems, a heart attack can sometimes lead to cardiac arrest.”

Brandon Griffith, of the Arizona Cardiac Arrest Survivors, said that only 1 to 5 percent of those who go into cardiac arrest survive.

“Had the paramedics not gotten there as quickly as they did, she may not have made it,” he said. Jones, who hugged and took pictures with members of the crew Wednesday, spoke through tears about what she went through and how appreciative she is to be alive.

“I thank God for everyone who helped me and the angel that was there that day to rescue me and save my life,” she said. “It was a miracle and I believe in miracles. I’m so grateful to all of you. I’m getting stronger every day and all I keep saying is that I’m so glad to be alive.”

As she and her mom wiped tears from their faces, Heath ended things on a lighter note when she added, “Some people will do anything to get a bunch of good looking men to their house.”


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