Sisters learn CPR in school, use it to save their father’s life: “I wouldn’t be around if they didn’t start the CPR”

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VIRGINIA — Knowledge is power, but triplets from Virginia know it can also save lives. The two sisters, age 13, used their knowledge of CPR to save their father’s life.

In November, Melissa and Mackenzie Zimmerman were home with their father Keith when they suddenly heard a crash.

Their father’s heart had stopped and he had fallen to the ground.

“My dad was like, laying on the ground. He was pale and like, stuff. I started slapping him. I thought he was passed out. I thought if I slapped him he would wake up,” Mackenzie Zimmerman said.

During the hectic few moments, the sisters called their mother Penny, a professional nurse, who was at a nearby shopping center with brother Mason.

“The phone rings. I thought my daughters were fighting. I heard screaming. My daughter said ‘Daddy fell and he is making a funny noise,'” Penny Zimmerman said.

Penny knew with her husband’s past heart problems the situation was grave and time was of the essence.

“I went through the red lights. Honking horn. Sticking arms out and stopping traffic,” Penny Zimmerman said.

Fortunately, the triplets learned CPR last summer. With a 911 dispatcher on the line, the sisters’ instincts kicked in. Mackenzie and Melissa started CPR on their own father as he slipped away.

“(We were]) really scared. I didn’t really know what was going to happen. The 911 operator said we had to 1-2, 1-2,  1-2,” Mackenzie Zimmerman said.

When she got home, Penny Zimmerman saw her daughters doing chest compressions. With first responders racing to the scene, the minutes felt like hours.

“It felt like forever. They had a stretcher and a defibrillator to shock him,” Mackenzie Zimmerman said.

The devastating scene that unfolded on their kitchen floor was almost too much bear.

“I was so sick to my stomach,” Penny Zimmerman said.

An ambulance whisked Keith Zimmerman to the hospital — where doctors and nurses took over.

“He was in the hospital and he was stable, but he was in a medically induced coma,” Mason Zimmerman said.

As days passed, a surgery finally repaired Keith’s ailing heart. Now, weeks after that dark day Keith is living with a temporary defibrillator.

“They had to keep telling me what happened over and over. I was like ‘wow!'” Keith Zimmerman said.

While the incident was a major setback, the children are happy their father is alive thanks to three simple letters – CPR.

“It is amazing. I wouldn’t be around if they didn’t start the CPR. Biggest Christmas gift I ever have gotten,” Keith Zimmerman said.

The Zimmerman family said they were grateful for generous family and friends who collected money to help pay bills and buy groceries after this incident.

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