When rookie Philadelphia Police officers Chris Bleum and James Alderfer went on patrol this week they thought it would be a typical day of training with their veteran supervisor Officer Eugene Donahue.
The two 22nd District rookies had been on the job less than three weeks when they stumbled onto a life-threatening situation along Diamond Street near Broad Street in North Philly Wednesday afternoon.
“They waved us down and said ‘there's a guy in a car not breathing,’” Donahue told NBC10 Thursday.
An officer – no matter how experienced – never knows when duty will call.
“The guy was not breathing, he needed help, and we're trained to help people,” said Bleum.
NBC10 cameras happened to be nearby when the two rookies and one vet rushed over to help.
The unidentified victim was slumped over in his car, unconscious and having trouble breathing.
The officers grabbed their CPR kit and immediately went to work. In a situation like this -- time and oxygen are precious.
“I started feeling a heartbeat, because I was on the chest,” said Alderfer.
“We finally got his pulse back and he started breathing on his own,” said Donahue.
The officers credited training and preparation – as well as being in the right place at the right time – with helping save the man’s life.
“it's not the academy any more, this is real life, this is our jobs,” said Alderfer.
The victim is expected to survive and the officers are expecting to continue protecting and serving after their pre-Christmas save.
“It's the reason we took the job to help people,” said Alderfer. “In the simplest form policing is public servants, it's what we do. The fact we were able to do something, and to think we helped save a life, there's nothing better than that.”
No word on what led to the victim’s medical emergency.