TSA to the rescue

Wednesday, November 13, 2019
Five TSA officers from Oregon’s Portland International Airport

Five quick thinking TSA officers from Oregon’s Portland International Airport came to the aid of a passenger in severe distress.

The officers were on break in the food court when they saw the passenger lying on the floor, losing consciousness. Instantly, they took action and helped him.

Officer Melanie Audette immediately called the airport’s emergency dispatch center to report the situation and remained on the line in order to provide Officer David Lisandrelli and Lead TSA Officer Joseph McGrath instructions on how to care for the passenger while they waited for emergency personnel to arrive.

“When I saw the passenger was in distress, my first thought was, ‘This person needs help,’ and I have been brought up to act and not look the other way,” said Lisandrelli. “I am thankful that the team I have been working with these past six months was there. We reacted and supported each other instinctively working together as a team.”

While waiting for emergency responders, the passenger lost consciousness.

Two emergency responders soon arrived and performed a quick triage and determined the passenger was most likely suffering from a drug overdose. They asked the officers to stay and provide support until additional emergency personnel arrived. The officers were strategically positioned to assist, insuring their safety and the safety of the unconscious passenger.

“I’m proud of our Officers who immediately responded to a life or death event,” said Assistant Federal Security Director for Screening Mathew Ketchum. “Their unique backgrounds and life experiences, coupled with the training they receive each day to be aware and immediately react to any situation at the checkpoint, all came together to save a life.”

McGrath supported the passenger’s head and held a breathing mask in place. Lisandrelli positioned the man’s arms and upper torso so an IV could be inserted. Audette managed crowd control, allowing the emergency responders space to work. Officer David Binns held the saline solution while Officer Lisabeth Barber retrieved items from the emergency responders’ emergency kit.

When paramedics injected the passenger with a Narcan shot, the man quickly regained consciousness. Additional emergency responders soon arrived and helped transport the passenger out of the airport.

“The perseverance of our officers enabled the emergency responders to focus on their task, keep the traveling public safe, and helped save a life,” said Acting Administrative Officer Steven Bird. “Thank you Officers Melanie Audette, David Lisandrelli, Joseph McGrath, David Binns, and Lisabeth Barber.”