911 Dispatcher Saves Beacon Infant

Thanked at firehouse – she was ex-chief’s granddaughter

On Aug. 10, Paul Reinheimer, a Dutchess County dispatcher, and four emergency medical personnel gathered at the Lewis Tompkins Hose Station 2 in Beacon so they could be thanked for helping to save the life of an 11-month-old girl who happened to be the granddaughter of former Beacon Fire Chief Tim Joseph.

Four days earlier, Reinheimer had answered a 911 call from Joseph’s wife, Tammy, who said her granddaughter was not breathing due to an obstructed airway. Reinheimer instructed Tammy Joseph on how to clear the airway and kept her calm until help arrived.

Sambolin, Pagliaro, Zingone, dispatcher Reinheimer with Aubrey, and Arrigo (photo provided).  

Sambolin, Pagliaro, Zingone, dispatcher Reinheimer with Aubrey, and Arrigo (photo provided).

A grateful Tim Joseph invited Reinheimer and the first responders — Mobile Life Support Services EMT Bruno Sambolin and Paramedic Valerie Pagliaro, Beacon Volunteer Ambulance Corps EMT Michael Zingone and Firefighter and EMT Ronnie Arrigo — to the firehouse so the family could thank them personally.

“I’m grateful to Paul, Ronnie and all the emergency personnel responsible for keeping Aubrey alive,” Joseph said. “The services our emergency services personnel provide to the community are critical and we should take the time to recognize them for their selfless acts of heroism.”

What to Do When an Infant Chokes

Source: medlineplus.gov

Do not perform these steps if the infant is coughing hard or has a strong cry. Strong coughs and cries can help push the object out of the airway.

If your child is not coughing forcefully or does not have a strong cry, follow these steps:

  1. Lay the infant face down, along your forearm. Use your thigh or lap for support. Hold the infant’s chest in your hand and hold the jaw with your fingers. Point the infant’s head downward, lower than the body.
  2. Give up to 5 quick, forceful blows between the infant’s shoulder blades. Use the palm of your free hand.

If the object does not come out of the airway after 5 blows:

  1. Turn the infant face-up. Use your thigh or lap for support. Support the head.
  2. Place 2 fingers on the middle of his breastbone just below the nipples.
  3. Give up to 5 quick thrusts down, compressing the chest 1/3 to 1/2 the depth of the chest.
  4. Continue 5 back blows followed by 5 chest thrusts until the object is dislodged or the infant loses alertness (becomes unconscious).

If the Infant Loses Alertness

If the child becomes unresponsive, stops breathing, or turns blue:

  • Shout for help.
  • Give infant CPR. Call 911 after 1 minute of CPR.
  • If you can see the object blocking the airway, try to remove it with your finger. Try to remove an object only if you can see it.

Do Not

  • Do not perform choking first aid if the infant is coughing forcefully, has a strong cry, or is breathing enough. However, be ready to act if the symptoms get worse.
  • Do not try to grasp and pull out the object if the infant is alert (conscious).
  • Do not do back blows and chest thrusts if the infant stops breathing for other reasons, such as asthma, infection, swelling, or a blow to the head. Do give infant CPR in these cases.

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