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Houston TSA officer takes quick action to save passenger’s life

Monday, July 15, 2019
HOU STI Alexi Chairez

A passenger was found unconscious in a women’s restroom at Houston’s William P. Hobby Airport, and TSA Supervisory Transportation Security Officer Alexi Chairez put his emergency training to the test by taking quick action to save the woman.

Chairez had just left a baggage area and was on his way to the HOU checkpoint when a candy store worker found the passenger lying on the restroom floor and alerted Chairez. After making sure the restroom was cleared, he went in and immediately checked the woman’s pulse. “No pulse at all,” Chairez said. “I got on my phone and called the TSA Coordination Center, asking them to get EMS down here.”

Before paramedics arrived, an airport employee came to help. “He started CPR, and I was checking for a pulse,” Chairez explained. “He kept doing CPR, and I kept checking her pulse, and when EMS came, they took over.” Chairez said it took quite a while, but paramedics were finally able to get a pulse before leaving HOU for the hospital. He didn’t have an update on the woman’s condition.

“I’m a volunteer firefighter, so I’ve had training with EMS/EMTs,” Chairez said. “Right away, I knew I had to stay calm and provide as much detail to whomever I was calling so they could get all of the information.”

“Alexi is a compassionate person,” said Assistant Federal Security Director Bill Byrne. “He cares about others. We are fortunate to have Alexi on our team.”

Chairez has some advice for others who might be called upon to help handle sudden emergencies. “Right away, seek help,” he said. “Get someone else involved, and don’t panic. Try to be there for the [victim]. We assume they can’t hear, but they might be able to hear. Staying calm is the main thing.”