Fortunately for Catskill resident James Brennan of Hudson Avenue, it took less than four minutes for emergency responders to arrive after his collapse.
At 6:10 p.m., Brennan’s wife called 911, reaching Catskill Police Department dispatcher Erika Ruger, and Catskill Police Officer Steven Deitz was dispatched to the residence at 6:12 p.m. and began CPR by 6:14 p.m.
Catskill Ambulance Emergency Medical Technician Cory Birk, who was off-duty and visiting a friend only a block away on High Street, overheard the radio communications on his friend’s police scanner and responded to the scene.
He quickly utilized the Automatic Electronic Defibrillator, which each Catskill Police patrol car equips, and was able to revive Brennan, who is in his 60s, according to EMTs.
“When someone puts their professional responsibilities beyond their own personal needs, it is beyond invaluable when it comes to saving someone’s life,” said Town Supervisor Peter Markou, who commended Birk with the first-ever citation for outstanding performance by a first responder.
Catskill EMT Michael Eisshofer of East Greenbush and EMT-Intermediate Rob Brooks of Purling were also commended by the board for their service in the incident.
Eisshofer and Brooks responded and performed further CPR to stabilize Brennan.
“He was touch and go for a while there,” said Brooks, who noted he became unresponsive during treatment.
“If we weren’t there for another two minutes,” Brooks said, “he wouldn’t have had a chance.”
“A life was saved because of their service,” Markou said of the responders.
“I just did my job,” said Birk.
“They don’t feel that they’ve done anything special,” said Catskill Ambulance Administrator Matthew Leibowitz, “but of course, whenever you save a life it’s special.”
“This is what we do,” said Brooks. “It’s special in that there are not many situations where they are actually able to walk out of the hospital.”