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Firefighter Saves Woman's Life

Traveling to work, Inspector Richard Chavez stopped and performed CPR on a unconscious woman.

On April 10, 2010, Mayor Richard J. Berry recognized an Albuquerque firefighter who pulled over in his personal vehicle while he was on his way to work so he could perform CPR on a unconscious woman.

Inspector Richard Chavez is this week's Friday's Hero. Each week Mayor Richard J. Berry and Public Safety Director Darren White recognize at least one public safety employee who goes above the call of duty.

"Inspector Chavez saw there was something wrong, took the time to stop and saved a woman's life," Mayor Berry said. "This incident shows that our public safety employees will always answer the call for help whether they are on duty or not."

On March 16, Chavez was on his way to work at the Fire Marshals Office, when at about 7 a.m., he spotted a woman lying on the sidewalk at 10th and Central. The woman was suffering from a medical episode and two other motorists had already pulled over to render aid.

Inspector Chavez pulled over and began evaluating the now unconscious woman. Quickly Chavez recognized the immediate need for Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation and initiated the life saving care. On-duty AFD paramedics were called and within minutes, Engine 1 and Rescue 1 were on-scene to assist with the CPR. Paramedics put an airway tube in the woman's throat and gave her medication to stimulate the heart. Several minutes later the woman had a pulse.

"On that morning I was proud to see a brother fireman, who stopped in his personal vehicle on his way to work to help a citizen in distress," said Driver Ryan Perry, who was on Rescue 1 and responded to the incident. "He was not responding on a truck with multiple partners to assist him, nor did he have any equipment or safety gear available at the time. He did, however, perform the life saving measures of CPR that in my professional opinion was the deciding factor leading to the successful return of a pulse and possible recovery. Without his quick action I believe the patient would likely have had a worse outcome."