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All in a Day’s Work: TSA VIPR Team Members Save Life of Transit Passenger

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

From the Office of Law Enforcement/Federal Air Marshal Service

While TSA is known mostly for airport security, we also work with transit agencies around the country to conduct random security operations at mass transit and passenger rail stations. On Saturday, July 18, more than a dozen of TSA’s Visible Intermodal Prevention and Response (VIPR) teams were on patrol for the grand opening weekend of Seattle’s new Light Rail system.

Without warning, a man collapsed on the platform of Pioneer Square station. Within seconds, Federal Air Marshals (FAMs) and a Behavior Detection Officer (BDO) secured the scene and began providing medical attention to the injured man.

After a quick medical assessment, it was clear the man was in cardiac arrest. While the BDO maintained the man’s airway, one of the FAMs administered chest compressions to restore circulation. The second FAM kept the crowd at bay, allowing his VIPR teammates to effectively administer CPR.

“We’re immensely proud of the quick thinking and decisive action of our VIPR team,” said Federal Air Marshal Service Special Agent in Charge Annmarie Lontz. “Their immediate response to a life-threatening situation is a great example of the benefit TSA’s VIPR teams add to the safety and security of the traveling public.”

The American Heart Association has found that patients who receive CPR and defibrillation within the first 3-5 minutes of a cardiac arrest followed by early advanced medical care have a greater than 50-percent chance of long-term survival. Thanks to the swift actions of the VIPR team, the patient was successfully revived by the time Seattle Fire Department paramedics arrived to administer advanced care and transport him to the hospital.

These “everyday heroes” protect the traveling public and keep America safe.