'Led to a great outcome': Fairfield first responders honored for saving resident's life

Pictured from left to right are Lt. Patrick Barry, officer Felix Gonzalez, firefighter Justin Crawford and telecommunicator Lynn Erazmus.

Pictured from left to right are Lt. Patrick Barry, officer Felix Gonzalez, firefighter Justin Crawford and telecommunicator Lynn Erazmus.

Farifield Fire Department / Contributed photo

FAIRFIELD — Several first responders were recently honored for their quick actions that officials say saved a resident’s life this summer.

Lt. Patrick Barry, officer Felix Gonzalez, firefighter Justin Crawford, telecommunicator Lynn Erazmus telecommunicator Jennifer DiJoseph and firefighter Ed Walsh were presented a special Hartford Health challenge coin for their response during the emergency.

“This is one of those things where you know if one of those little pieces of the puzzle is missing, like someone doesn’t call right away or the dispatcher doesn’t get the right information there could have been an issue,” Fairfield Fire Department Deputy Chief Kyran Dunn said. “Here everything went perfectly and extremely quickly and led to a great outcome.”

On June 29, the Fairfield Emergency Communications center received a call for an unresponsive male on Mill Plain Road. DiJoesph immediately dispatched the closest fire unit to the scene as she continued to gather vital information from the caller about the emergency.

At the same time, Erazmus realized there was a police unit nearby and dispatched Gonzalez to the scene.

Gonzalez arrived just moments later and found an unresponsive male in a vehicle. He and a bystander were able to get the patient out of the vehicle and Gonzalez immediately began chest compressions, according to the fire department.

“There is really only a matter of minutes before a patient can become brain dead due to lack of oxygen so if their heart stops they’re not getting that oxygen to the brain,” Dunn said. “So even the first thing where bystanders or in this case where a police officer got on the scene and just started using compression, not even mouth to mouth and just starting with compression on the heart, it starts moving around that oxygen that is already in your system and in your blood stream. It starts moving it towards your brain and pumping it around.”

Barry and Fairfield Fire’s Engine 1 arrived a few minutes later along with Walsh and Crawford. The crew continued with CPR and used an automatic external defibrillator to analyze his heart rhythm and deliver four shocks, as well as a cardiac compression device to give more effective and continual chest compressions, the department said.

“Speed is of the utmost and with our people getting on the scene with the fire engine a couple minutes after that they were able to put all these devices that gave him an even better chance,” Dunn said. “Here we are out in the field doing this before an ambulance even gets there.”

The crew then transferred the patient to a stretcher when the ambulance arrived and care was continued on the way to St. Vincent’s Medical Center.

After surgery and a brief stay in the hospital the patient was released and walked out of the hospital and returned home to his family, according to the fire department.

Dunn said this is a lesson that everyone should learn CPR and to always quickly call first responders anytime medical attention is needed.

“People always ask ‘Why do you send fire or police vehicles to the scene?” Dunn said. “We want to get people on the scene as quickly as possible.”