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CPR survivors honor rescuers during EMS Week

Here are some moving stories of EMS responders doing what they do best


During this year’s EMS Week, Americans across the nation thanked first responders for saving their lives. From retired FDNY firefighters to a Hawaiian basketball player, here are some moving stories of EMS responders doing what they do best.

1. Two retired FDNY firefighters saved by FDNY members at separate incidents

Retired FDNY firefighters Kenny Ruane and Felix Mullen had the opportunity to thank the first responders that saved their lives at the FDNY 22nd Second Chance Ceremony May 18. The two were saved by FDNY firefighters who performed CPR. “It’s great to be saved by anyone but it’s amazing to be saved by the fire department I served. Only in a movie that happens,” Ruane said.

The Second Chance ceremony reunites patients, who have survived cardiac arrest, with the paramedics, EMTs, FDNY EMS officers, firefighters and other first responders who helped save their lives. More than 200 survivors have been reunited with the FDNY members who saved their lives at this annual ceremony.

2. Ariz. mechanic saved by first responders

A mechanic who was brought back to life by responders was able to thank them during the Public Safety’s Phoenix Award Ceremony May 16. William Schutz was test driving a car he made repairs on when he got out of the car and had a heart attack. By chance, a resident turned onto the street, saw Schutz and ran over to him after calling 911. Responders arrived on the scene and were able to resuscitate him. “We don’t often get the chance to see the results of our labors,” Jon Thompson said.

3. Hawaiian cardiac arrest survivor thanks rescuers

EMTs and YMCA volunteers were honored May 16 for saving the life of one Hawaiian man. Philip Tan was playing basketball when he suffered a heart attack, and was saved by YMCA staff and bystanders who performed CPR after reviving him with an AED. “I’m so lucky that they knew what to do. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here today. So I’m truly grateful from the bottom of my heart for saving me,” Tan said.

4. NY science teacher saved by FDNY members

Theodore Povinelli, 59, a Bronx science teacher, was taking part in a fire drill at the school last year when he collapsed on the sidewalk. Firefighters found Povinelli in cardiac arrest and immediately applied an AED. Povinelli couldn’t make it to the Second Chance Ceremony, but is alive today because of the outstanding actions by FDNY members.