Dispatcher, officer honored for helping save dying man
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POCATELLO — It was a typical shift for Pocatello police dispatcher Diana Rich when she received a call from a woman needing help last August.
“She said, ‘I just came downstairs and found my husband sitting in the chair. I don’t think he’s breathing,'” Rich recalls.
Rich has been a dispatcher for over seven years so she’s dealt with stressful situations. She tried to keep the woman calm and looked at the live interactive map on her computer monitor that showed officer Tyler Anderson was near the house.
“The call popped up and it’s a medical,” Anderson says. “They wanted to have someone there to help her with that because it seemed like she was a bit frantic.”
Anderson made his way to the home as Rich told the woman that she needed to get her 65-year-old husband on the floor and begin CPR.
“I knew she was struggling to begin with,” Rich says. “Finally I was just like grab a leg, grab anything – it’s better to pull him off of the recliner to save him than to just leave him in the chair.”
Anderson arrived and began giving CPR. As luck would have it, he had received an automatic defibrillator from the department just three days earlier.
“That was the first time I had actually used it other than training so I just flipped it open and it tells you to remain calm so it was easy,” Anderson says with a laugh. “It walks you through it really easily.”
Within minutes, the man’s pulse came back. Paramedics arrived and rushed him to the hospital for treatment.
“The ambulance crew called and said the doctor told them because the AED was applied so early – that’s ultimately what saved him,” Rich says.
Anderson and Rich are thankful things ended the way they did. Both deal with situations like this all the time and are uncomfortable being called heroes.
“Honestly I didn’t do a whole lot,” Anderson says. “I just happened to be the guy who was closest. Anybody else could have done the exact same thing.”
Rich adds, “We do this every day and I’m no special than any other dispatcher in that room. We save lives every day.”