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City Lifeguard Goes Above and Beyond to Save Lives

Employee of the Week: Alessandra Fernandez

Albuquerque- Today Mayor Richard J. Berry honored an employee from a local swimming pool whose training and responsiveness made all the difference when an accident on the highway unfolded right before her eyes. Parks and Recreation employee, Alessandra Fernandez, is this week’s Employee of the Week.

This past September, Alessandra Fernandez was taking a trip with her mother and a friend to see a One Direction concert in El Paso, Texas. As a lifeguard at Valley Pool, Alessandra is well versed in CPR and First Aid skills, but she had no idea she would have to utilize those skills on her road trip. About 15 miles south of Belen, Alessandra witnessed a large passenger van filled with women and children suddenly flip off of the road. Alessandra’s mother, Patricia Fernandez, called 911, while Alessandra’s lifeguard training kicked-in. Alessandra ran over to help the passengers out of the van. Once other drivers saw the tragic scene they began to stop and help pull out people from the vehicle, as there were a total of ten women and children in the van. The woman that Alessandra first made contact with, Ausfia Hamdan, had a severe laceration on her head. Alessandra knew from her training that due to the severity of the injury she had to keep Hamdan awake or her condition would worsen. Alessandra continued to talk to the woman, asking her questions, and keeping her engaged and awake until the paramedics arrived.

Thanks to Alessandra’s quick response and training, Hamdan was able to stay awake and attentive until the paramedics arrived to render further aid. Due to Alessandra’s selflessness and quick thinking, she was able to apply her training to a situation that was not within her typical responsibilities as a City of Albuquerque lifeguard. Alessandra was hired as a lifeguard in 2012. She was the lifeguard of the month in April of 2014.