By Silver Krieger
New York, NY – This past year, on September 9, Firefighter Chris Magas and his EMT wife Patricia Magas used their combined training in a heroic off-duty action that saved their beloved neighbor’s life. The couple was at home in New Hyde Park around 8 p.m. when the daughter of their neighbor, John Driscoll, a retired NYPD sergeant, began pounding on the door and ringing the bell frantically.
“Please come help my dad,” she cried.
“I ran out of the house right away and found [John] on the floor in cardiac arrest,” Chris recalls. Patricia, meanwhile, raced upstairs to tell her twin daughters she had to run next door.
At 50, Driscoll had never suffered anything like this before. Working together, Chris and Patricia immediately started performing CPR on their neighbor.
“We got a pulse back and he was breathing on his own before the ambulance arrived,” Chris says.
Driscoll was lucky because his lifesaving neighbors had just returned home from a birthday for Chris’ father and nephew. Driscoll’s two dogs also played a crucial part in raising an early alarm. According to Chris, Kuda and Angus, “started acting weird” when [Driscoll] went into cardiac arrest and “alerted the family.”
Chris and Patricia’s lifesaving training was, indeed, fortuitous. Chris, a member of the Uniformed Firefighters Association (UFA) Local 94, has been in the FDNY for 17 years. Prior to that he spent three years with EMS. Patricia, a member of Local 2507 Uniformed EMTs, Paramedics, and Fire Inspectors, has been an EMT for almost 20 years.
“[John Driscoll]’s family is an extension of our family,” Chris says. “We’ve lived on the same block for 13 years. They always help us out with our kids. Camille, John’s wife, is like an aunt or grandmother to our kids. We exchange presents with them on the holidays.”
“New York City Firefighters are never off duty,” says Gerard Fitzgerald, president of the Uniformed Firefighters Association of Greater New York. “Whether this means helping a neighbor during the time of a crisis, or responding to a fire on the back of a truck — our firefighters are always ready to spring into action at a moment’s notice to save a life with the same emergency training that makes them the greatest firefighting force in the world.”
Oren Barzilay, president, FDNY EMS Local 2507, says, “Everyday, EMTs, Paramedics and other first responders save countless lives — in this case even while off duty. Having personally known them and being Patricia’s former partner — I felt extremely proud hearing of them saving a life. Patricia and Chris have shown us that no matter where they are, or what they’re doing, they’re always willing to help — as many of our employees have done in the past. They are both model employees with an exemplary record.”
Says DC 37 Executive Director Harry Garrido, “The brave and unselfish actions performed by those members represent the kind of dedication on display by the 150,000 members of DC 37 day after day. This is why we proudly refer to them as ‘Everyday Heroes.’”