Photography by Lindsey Potter
A disaster at sea. An accident in the woods. A shooting outside a strip mall. Such scenarios have become all too common today and can occur in an instant, leading to sudden injuries and tragic deaths.
What if the captain knew how to use an automated external defibrillator?
What if the hiker knew how to apply a splint?
What if the store owner knew how to stop the bleeding?
D-Dey Response Group is in the business of ending guesswork.
“Our training programs are so relevant today to everyone,” says Cecilia Deyo, CEO of the Palm City company with the slogan “Plan. Prepare. Perform.” “This is kind of what we want to see the whole country open their eyes to.”
Deyo, a Navy veteran who studied public administration at Florida Atlantic University, and her husband, Don, a Green Beret who served as a lieutenant with Palm Beach County Fire Rescue, have compiled a team of Special Forces instructors in addition to active and retired first responders who teach tactical medicine and best practices for emergencies, to law-enforcement offices and paramedics as well as the general public in D-Deys’ practical training curriculums.
“Jobs are overlapping,” Deyo says. “Law enforcement officers are not necessarily trained to be paramedics, and paramedics are not necessarily trained to be law enforcement officers. We want to change the fundamental mindset.”
D-Dey Response Group also offers courses in firearms—for beginners to those who are advanced.
“We say, ‘Train as you fight,’ in the military,” says Don, who met his wife in 2006 while they were stationed in Iraq. “Give them the skills and the tools right at arm’s reach so they can perform when they need to. We taught our kids to do some of this stuff, and they’re 10 and 8.”
What led to the development of D-Dey Response Group?
C: After the Santa Monica College shooting in 2013, I remember walking around FAU and feeling like a sitting duck. I could sense how dangerous the situation could become. I had all these friends with the knowledge and the experience to make a difference, and if I could just gather them together and create a program, then we could start to save lives.
What kind of feedback do you get from your students?
C: Most are surprised they learned so much in a short amount of time. This happens at every skill level, which is exciting to hear. Generally when starting out, they’re fearful and nervous, but by the end of the day, they are confident and empowered.
How can Martin County benefit from your training?
D: People move here because they love that low-key kind of living. We’re lucky—a lot of stuff doesn’t happen here. But it could. All of our classes focus on realistic training that’s not there to scare or shock but to provide value and growth. Our program makes your life better.
Outside of work, what do you do as a couple?
C: We love exploring new cultures and being adventurous. In 2018, we did a trip to South America and trekked all over three countries, and this year we are hoping to travel to the UK. Other than that, we can usually be found in our offices.