Rookie EMT Saves Man's Life Two Weeks Into Job
New York Daily News via YellowBrix
July 15, 2010
STATEN ISLAND, NY — When Lt. Anthony Weiburg was buttoning up his uniform on the morning of the Fourth of July, all the 22-year-old Travis resident was thinking about was marching in his community’s famed holiday parade.
Hours later, he was a hometown hero.
Midway through the 100th annual Travis Fourth of July Parade, Weiburg performed life-saving CPR on an unresponsive man just feet from the event’s route as a mass of spectators looked on.
It was an impressive feat for a young man who had received his emergency medical technician certification just two-and-a-half weeks earlier.
“When I first got there, I thought that it was just going to be something minor,” said Weiburg, a four-year member of the Oceanic Hook & Ladder Volunteer Fire Co. No. 1. “But when I assessed the situation, I realized how serious it was and the only thing that clicked in my head was, ‘I have to save this guy.’¤”
Weiburg had just finished marching with his fellow volunteer firefighters and was unpacking gear at the Victory Avenue firehouse when he heard a call for help shortly after 1 p.m.
He sprinted a few yards to the site of the commotion where a man, who onlookers identified as 66-year-old New Jersey resident Brian Fallon, had collapsed after an apparent seizure.
“I ran over to him, and [the man] was completely unresponsive when I got there,” Weiburg recalled.
According to the firefighter, Richmond University Medical Center nurse Chris Ruiz rushed to his aid, helping him to stabilize Fallon, who was face down, and turn him over.
“He didn’t look good,” Weiburg said. “He was blue in the face and he wasn’t breathing. I checked for a pulse, but there was nothing.”
Meanwhile, members of the firehouse — including Cpt. Rob Sawicki, Chief John Grassadonio, Asst. Chief Rick Caliri and Lts. Jay Wakie and Nick Lamberti — were rushing to the rescue with medical gear and working to keep the crowd back far enough.
The checklist of CPR protocol was running through Weiburg’s head, almost as if by second nature.
“I went into tunnel vision at that point,” he said. “I started CPR and got through three full cycles before I got a pulse back and [Fallon] started breathing on his own again.”
The job was far from done, however.
Weiburg, Ruiz and the other firefighters secured Fallon’s neck with a collar and stabilized him on a backboard.
Almost immediately, a team from the North Shore Rescue ambulance brigade, which had been participating in the parade as well, arrived on scene.
They rushed Fallon to Staten Island University Hospital in Ocean Breeze, where, according to reports, he was listed in stable condition after being brought into the emergency room.
“We did what we had to do to bring him back,” Weiburg said simply. “And it’s a great feeling that I was able to help someone out. That’s part of the reason I took the classes in the first place .¤.¤. to help other people.”