When two new parents in Boulder, Colorado, discovered their newborn was unconscious and not breathing, their saving grace was a man named Rob Schimoler.
Schimoler is a 911 communications dispatcher. While police officers and firemen often get the credit for being first responders, dispatchers are really a person’s first line to help in an emergency. When they do their job well — as Schimoler did — they are the difference between life and death.
The first call the frantic father made was a hang-up call. Schimoler called back, explained who he was, and asked if there was an emergency.
“The man replied ‘Yes. My baby is not breathing,’” a post from the Boulder County Sheriff’s Office stated. “Rob asked some additional questions to gain more information.
“The baby was just under four weeks old and was neither conscious nor breathing.”
To make matters worse, the family was located in a remote mountain area, and help was not close, putting the burden of the response on the parents themselves and their coach, Schimoler.
While help made the long journey out to the parents and infant, Schimoler stayed on the line for 14 minutes, giving the parents step-by-step instructions on performing infant CPR and counting off the timing for them.
“Two breaths were given, followed by thirty, two finger chest compressions, one and one-half inches deep and at least twice per second,” the post continued. “Rob was their metronome, counting ‘1-2-3-4, 1-2-3-4’ as they provided the compressions.”
And it worked. Within minutes, the baby started to cry.
While the 4-week-old was far from stable, the fire department soon arrived and was able to take over and get the baby the emergency care it needed.
Coal Creek Canyon Assistant Fire Chief Ceurvorst was clear about Schimoler’s impact, though, recognizing him as the family’s hero.
“I wanted to reach out to commend your dispatch team on this morning’s one-month old patient,” Ceurvorst said in a statement.
“I’m not sure who was guiding the parents through infant CPR, but they certainly deserve a shout out. The infant had just started breathing and crying on our arrival. We had a lot to do to stabilize this newborn, but it would not have been possible without the good CPR prior to our arrival.
“Our jobs, both in Dispatch and Fire, are challenging and we often do not achieve the patient outcomes that we would like, but the success of today’s incident makes all the training and sacrifices we endure so worth it. We were fortunate that it was our day to be heroes. Strong work!”
The sheriff’s office also praised Schimoler’s calm professionalism and skill, credited him with helping the parents save the baby’s life and recognized his work with a Life-Saving Award.