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Off-Duty Seaside Heights Lifeguard Among Group Who Saved Life at Local Gym

An automated external defibrillator. (Credit: Hawaii County/ Flickr)

An automated external defibrillator. (Credit: Hawaii County/ Flickr)

It’s been said that first responders are never truly “off duty,” and if a recent incident at a Toms River gym is any indication, the adage holds true.

According to Toms River police spokeswoman Jillian Messina said a group that consisted of off-duty police officers, EMTs and lifeguards from local communities worked to save the life of a gym patron who collapsed while exercising on Sunday, Aug. 13.

Before police arrived at the LA Fitness location on Hooper Avenue in the late afternoon, two off-duty Toms River EMTs, Dylan Tortorelli and Josh Menack, who were working out at the time, were already preforming CPR on a man who suffered sudden cardiac arrest while exercising. Also at the gym were two-off duty Toms River police officers, Alex Van Lew and Charlie Grainger, who rendered aid by utilizing an automated external defibrillator, or AED.

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“Moments later, the patient awakened, regaining consciousness and began to breathe on his own,” said Messina.

Silverton First Aid and RWJ Paramedics responded and transported the man to Ocean Medical Center, Brick, for further treatment.

“We are very happy to report he is home!” she said.

Tortorelli was just sworn-in as a full-time police officer with the Neptune Township Police Department on Monday and is a Manchester Township EMT. Menack is a volunteer with the Point Pleasant Beach First Aid Squad and a Seaside Heights Beach Patrol Lifeguard and EMT.

“We’d like to commend them, and everyone who jumped into action and rendered aid to help save a stranger’s life,” Messina said.

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