WAYLAND (CBS) – Massachusetts firefighters received a frantic Facebook message looking for help. But there was a problem – the message came from halfway across the country.
One of the on-duty firefighters/paramedics happened to be a Facebook administrator for the page and saw the message from a woman who did not have access to a phone.
“The woman said her 16-year-old son was choking, she was unable to perform the Heimlich,” said Wayland, Mass. firefighter Patrick Walkinshaw. “She listed her address, which immediately got our attention because it wasn’t an address in Wayland, Massachusetts.”
The firefighters realized the woman lived in Wayland, Michigan, and quickly sprung into action.
“We were able to find the Wayland, Michigan Fire Department phone number, and notified their dispatch, confirmed the address with them that it is a valid address there, and they were able to send a response to the address to help the victim,” said Dean Casali.
While Michigan firefighters rushed to help the choking boy, the Massachusetts firefighters helped provide assistance as well.
“Once we got the ambulance dispatched to her, I got back on the messenger app and tried to communicate with her, try to walk her through some instructions if she was having some trouble with the Heimlich and give her some pre-arrival instructions before the ambulance got there,” said William Tyree.
Thanks to the quick actions of both fire departments, the boy is OK.
“We had to do what we could with what we had,” said Walkinshaw.
“Seconds do count,” added Casali.
Firefighters urge residents not to reach out through Facebook in an emergency situation, and instead to call 911 whenever possible.
“The stars were absolutely in alignment. It really did work out,” said Tyree.