Buffalo-Niagara International Airport Lead Transportation Security Officer James Dolph was working third shift at the checkpoint when he heard a radio call requesting emergency medical personnel at the exit lane for a traveler who collapsed on the public side of the terminal as he left the exit lane.
Dolph didn’t know it at the time, but just a few minutes later, he would share a high-five with another traveler after they heroically saved the life of a stranger.
A small crowd had gathered near the exit lane, and Dolph, a TSA employee for the past 12 years, overheard someone loudly proclaim that the downed man was turning blue.
Dolph hustled over, saw that the man was not breathing, and felt no pulse. “Fortunately I knew that there was a defibrillator only about 15 feet away, and I grabbed it while another traveler opened the man’s shirt,” said Dolph, a veteran of the U.S. Army and a part-time school bus operator, who has had some training on how to utilize a defibrillator. “At that point, I followed the instructions on the unit.
“I pushed the red button and it shocked him,” Dolph recalled. The defibrillator unit, which stayed attached to the man, instructed that chest compressions should resume. Another traveler, who said she was a nurse, began the chest compressions. The man’s eyes opened and the color began to return to his face.
All of this happened in just a few short minutes, before the first responders arrived and took over. “I saw the man begin to move around on his own. The nurse and I slapped a high five and we left to go about our business.”
Airport officials reviewed video of the footage after the incident and “during the entire incident we could see LTSO Dolph’s calm demeanor and observe his deliberate actions in coming to the passenger’s rescue. He was surely a hero that night,” said Scott Norcutt, Acting Assistant Federal Security Director-Generalist.
By Lisa Farbstein, Office of Strategic Communications and Public Affairs