By Ryan Yousefi
A woman who was choking while driving on Sample Road this past weekend found herself in the right place at the right time, and the Coral Springs-Parkland Fire Department is to credit with saving her life.
The fortunate woman, who doesn’t want to be identified, was driving past Coral Springs Fire Station 71 at 11800 Northwest 41st Street on Saturday night when she realized she could no longer breathe.
Realizing where she was, she pulled into the fire station, frantically knocked on the door, and instantly received life-saving medical attention from the crew that answered.
“I had just showered and was getting ready for bed,” Firefighter Alain Jerez said. “I was on my way to the captains’ office to see if he needed anything before I went to sleep when I saw a woman through our glass window in distress.”
Firefighter Jerez says he then rushed to the door and opened it, to find the woman on her knees unable to speak. She was unable to breathe and in a panicked state and in dire need of help.
“I checked her for hives to see if she was having an allergic reaction,” he said. “Then, she took out her phone and started swiping pictures until she landed on a picture of a carrot. She was barely able to make out the word ‘carrot.'”
“That’s when I realized she was choking.”
He says it took a few good Heimlich thrusts until the woman began to regain the ability to breathe, but she soon was feeling better and out of harm’s way.
The crew then loaded her on a stretcher and used a camera to peer down her throat to ensure there were no longer any pieces of food obstructing her airway. Once cleared, she was okay to leave.
Firefighter Jerez says after the incident, the woman told him that she lives very near the station and knew exactly where to go when panic struck her as she drove home. He also said she was quite appreciative and thankful for being in the right place at the right time.
Public Information Officer Mike Moser said the woman did not require additional medical attention after the incident, and after chatting with the crew for a bit, she eventually got back in her car and drove away.
Moser also indicated the woman’s’ name could not be released at this time.
Crew members never did find the piece of carrot that was obstructing her airway, saying it’s likely that the woman swallowed it during the process. What matters most, of course, is this story has a happy ending.
“This is why we do what we do.” Firefighter Jerez said.
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- Ryan Yousefi has lived in Coral Springs for over 30 years. He has worked as a writer for multiple outlets over the years, including the Miami New Times where he has covered sports and culture since 2013. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree and a Master’s Degree in Business Healthcare Management from Western Governors University.
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