It can be a matter of life or death, sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death for people over 40 in America, but bystander CPR can nearly triple a persons chance of survival.

Back in September, 65-year-old principal Mike Domico collapsed in the Saint Edwards school cafeteria in sudden cardiac arrest. With the help of students CPR-skilled teacher Luke Heinemen was alerted and used what he had learned earlier that summer to apply the skills needed to save a life.

On Wednesday Heinemen was honored by AMT for his heroism and quick thinking. Both Domico who is now fully recovered and Heinemen believe more and more lives can be saved if community members will step up and perform the earliest care.

“I came back the first day and when I visited the students, I told them you’re my heroes,” said Domico. He adds, “I’ll never forget, without them in that room I could have been out here not much more for 10 minutes and been gone.”

“The more people we can get certified, at least know how to do compressions the better,” explained Heinemen . He adds “We need to start them when they’re young so they’ll be able to do it the rest of their life.”

After the award ceremony students at Saint Edwards went through CPR and AED training.