Off-duty Fla. firefighter jumps onto moving holiday float to treat child having emergency

Polk County Fire Rescue said that Driver/Engineer Dustin Bovill cleared the child's airway and rode with the patient until EMS providers could take over


By Leila Merrill
FireRescue1/EMS1

POLK COUNTY, Fla. — Polk County Fire Rescue said that one of its firefighters saved the life of a child Friday while attending the Havendale Christmas Parade with his family.

Dustin Bovill, a driver and engineer, said he could tell that the child was having a medical emergency.

“While I was watching the float pass by, I saw the father’s expression as he looked up from the float and I knew that something was not right,” Bovill said in a statement posted on Facebook. “After I saw the child’s father, I jumped onto the moving float in order to assist in any way that I could.”

Bovill cleared the child’s airway.

He stayed on the moving float with the patient and the patient’s family until the end of the parade route.

Bovill transferred care to Polk County EMS providers who were standing by. They transported the patient to a hospital.

“Driver/Engineer Bovill’s instinct to jump in and assist a citizen in need demonstrates our member’s readiness to serve whether they are on and off-duty,” said Polk County Fire Rescue Chief Hezedean A. Smith. “Bovill’s actions and the care he provided to the child in need is something we are very proud of here at Polk County Fire Rescue.”

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