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"Hero" 9-1-1 Dispatcher Gets Heartfelt Thanks PDF Print E-mail
Written by San Fernando Valley Sun   
Thursday, 05 April 2012 02:44

Credited with Helping Woman Save Her Husband's Life


Deanna Brigidi-Stewart (right) meets with LAFD dispatcher Alfred Comacho to personally thank him for helping to save her husband's life. Camacho, a 9-1-1 dispatcher instructed Brigidi-Stewart via the telephone on how to administer CPR to her husband, who was not breathing after going into cardiac arrest.

Deanna Brigidi-Stewart had never done CPR and if you ask her today how to do it, she wouldn't know where to start. But at around 11 p.m. on Feb. 27, the mother of two performed the life saving procedure on her 35-year-old husband with the help of Los Angeles Fire Department dispatcher Alfred Camacho. Her husband was not breathing after going into cardiac arrest and was already turning blue.

"I was a vessel, but he (Camacho) did it through the phone," Brigidi-Stewart said. "He was very clear and kept me focus," said the woman, adding she was "hysterical" when she called 9-1-1.

"I owe him (Camacho) my everything," she said recently, standing next to her "hero" at the LAFD Metro Fire Communications in downtown Los Angeles.

Camacho, a 19-year veteran of the fire department, is one of 26 dispatchers who everyday answer 9-1-1 calls from people in distress. They're all trained rescuers with hands-on crisis experience that help coordinate a rapid response from firefighters and paramedics.

"We do this everyday. We don't ask for this," said Camacho after receiving a box of candy and fruit from Brigidi- Stewart and her genuine thanks. "I'm just happy that Mrs. Stewart is with her whole family and doing fine."

With Camacho's guidance, Brigidi-Stewart was able to bring her husband back to breathing and a pulse before paramedics arrived at the house. The man, who did not want his name published, is currently doing fine and has no ill effects from the cardiac arrest, thanks in part to his wife's prompt response, said Cpt. Jaime Moore of the Fire Department.

Capt. Moore said 9-1-1 dispatchers save people's lives everyday, but are not often recognized for their work. Brigidi- Stewart sent Camacho a letter thanking him after the episode with her husband and expressed her desire to thank him face-to-face.

When asked if he considered himself a hero, Camacho was adamant he was simply doing his job.

"When people call, they're calling because it's an emergency. You have to take charge of the situation," he said.

"I get pride in helping people in those moments. I love doing it. I don't consider myself a hero. I'm just very happy that the outcome (for the family) was great."

He added a big factor in this particular situation was Brigidi-Stewart herself being able to follow directions.

"These situations are difficult, but the person has to calm down so we can give them step-by-step instructions," Camacho said.

"When people called, they're in a crisis and scared and we can't help them if they don't follow directions," he added.

Brigidi-Stewart said she simply couldn't have save her husband's life without Camacho's intervention.

"The outcome would not have been the same if I was paired with another person," she said.