Calif. firefighters, paramedics honored for saving man

Firefighters, paramedics and a YMCA lifeguard sprang into action when a man playing basketball collapsed on the court in April

Glendale News-Press

GLENDALE, Calif. — When a man playing basketball collapsed on the court at the Glendale YMCA one day in April, Siyona Gharibian sprang into action.

The YMCA lifeguard found an automatic external defibrillator and rushed to the court, where the man was not breathing and had no pulse. She started CPR and shocked him twice using the device before paramedics arrived.

Gharibian, along with the team of Glendale firefighters and ambulance operators who arrived shortly after and took the man to the hospital, were honored Wednesday at the Glendale Fire Department's annual awards luncheon.

Gharibian earned a Fire Chief's Commendation, while engineer Mark Masto, firefighters/paramedics Brendan Edwards and Dave Monhiem, and ambulance operators Jon Manor and Jeff Steele were awarded a Unit Citation for caring for the patient as he was transported to Dignity Health Glendale Memorial Hospital.

Another team of first responders — including Capt./paramedic Steve Genovese, engineer paramedic Gabe Vaca, firefighters/paramedics Brendan Edwards and Jamie Rohrig, and ambulance operators Erik Quintana and Jon Turcios — also earned a Unit Citation for resuscitating a 4-year-old boy found in his father's arms, unconscious and unresponsive. The team was able to restore the boy's pulse on the way to the hospital, which led to his full recovery.

The agency also awarded Distinguished Service Awards to firefighter/paramedic Daniel Claridge, Capt./paramedic Brian Julian and fire engineer/paramedic Karlow Krikor.

"I go to work and give 110% because I love what I do," said Krikor, who became the department's first Armenian firefighter in 2005. "It's nice to be recognized for it."

For the first time, the Glendale Police Department was awarded a Unit Citation for its ongoing effort to train 40 police officers as emergency medical technicians. The award highlighted what top brass called a growing emphasis on teamwork between the city's police and fire agencies.

"We're not siloed anymore," said Fire Chief Greg Fish. "We're very much together in our delivery."

For two years, the agencies have been training together to prepare for active-shooter situations. That includes training police officers on delivering medical aid in situations too dangerous for paramedics, as well as training firefighters to safely enter "warm zones," while escorted by police, to deliver medical aid.

"The future is police officers carrying EMT kits, and firefighters wearing ballistic helmets," said Police Chief Robert Castro.

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