NEWARK, N.J. – It was a normal Monday morning for Essex County Sheriff Officers Danielle Russo and Louis Duran who were on duty at the courthouse in Newark when they were called to action.
“I was taking my morning break,” said Duran, “and then heard a call on the radio.”
A 63-year-old man had collapsed on the first floor. Officer Duran was the first one to arrive.
“We put him on his back,” said Duran. “I attempted to listen for a heartbeat, couldn’t get one.”
Following his training, Duran started chest compressions. Though this is the first time he’s been in this situation as a police officer, he has saved lives out in the field while serving in the Army, which included three deployments to Iraq.
“There’s some kind of adrenaline pump going,” said Duran. “You just have to try to stay calm and try to figure out what the next step is.”
Russo told another officer to grab a defibrillator.
“While he was doing CPR, I began to take the BVM mask out, which is a bag valve mask, the way I give rescue breaths,” Russo said. “Soon after the defib arrived, I applied the defib and then cleared. One shock was advised. I started CPR and he took over rescue breaths, and within one minute he had a pulse.”
The man was taken to University Hospital, and officers say that, at last check, he’s expected to be OK.
Russo is one of 12 EMTs in the Sheriff’s Office and served as an EMT in and around Hudson County for two decades. She’s also a CPR instructor.
“When you’re taking these classes, actually pay attention, because you never know when you’re going to need it,” said Russo.
Sheriff Armando Fontoura said there were several instances last year when Sheriff’s officers relied on their training to save someone’s life. He says whether they’re in the courthouse or out on patrol, they’re ready at a moment’s notice.
“We’re constantly on the go here and ready to go,” said Fontoura. “And while they’re waiting, they do other jobs.”
Both officers hope to see more people learn CPR, because you never know when you will need to be someone’s hero.
“It could be out in the street, in a store, it could be one of your family members at dinner, always make sure you have that training,” said Russo.