Source: Hudson Reporter
The recent nor’easter nearly took the life of a man who suffered a heart attack in his driveway while shoveling snow.
At 6:30PM, during the height of the storm and with many streets closed to traffic, a resident noticed her neighbor collapsed on the slope of his driveway in the Bergen Point section of Bayonne. Despite low visibility, she noticed a fire truck parked a block away and ran over to the driver-side window to alert firefighters that someone had fainted.
“You don’t just faint from shoveling,” said Captain Marcial Pivano, who was sitting in the front passenger seat of Ladder Tower 1 with Stan Rosalsky in the driver’s seat and Dave Greyer in the back. “It went through all of our minds that it’s probably not just a faint.”
The firefighter springing into action first was Rosalsky (the one with the lightest clothes) who was followed closely by Geyer with a defibrillator.
Through the blanket of snow, Pivano followed the cries — “I heard her yelling ‘over here, over here,’” he said. Rosalsky and Geyer pulled the man onto a dry, flat surface under his porch to perform first aid and CPR. Pivano flagged down an SUV which happened to contain another firefighter, Rocys Pozo, on his way back from a different call.
“I heard Stan say he’s starting to breathe on his own,” Pivano said. “Then I hear the sirens.”
Nearly a foot of snow blocked the ambulance access. “Stuck behind the ambulance waiting to get around is a pickup truck with a plow on it,” Pivano continues. “I told him what was happening, and the guy just backed up his truck and blasted the snow out of the way. Then the ambulance was off.”
The entire ordeal lasted less than ten minutes; The defibrillator was on for only about six and a half of them. “This was a ‘right-place-at-the-right-time’ kind of situation,” Pivano said. “Everything was so snarled up from downed power lines and unpassable streets.”
“Every time we have a snowstorm, we say this,” said Michael McCabe of McCabe Ambulance Service. “The possibility of people going into cardiac arrest while shoveling rises, especially with this extremely heavy snow. It was like cement that day.” Captain Paviano agrees:
“If that lady hadn’t seen him, or we were a block farther away, who knows what would have happened.”