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Thursday, July 18, 2024


Upper First Responders Save 3 Lives in 28 Days

Upper Township Committee honored first responders for saving the life of a heart patient Jan. 20
Christopher South

Upper Township Committee honored first responders for saving the life of a heart patient Jan. 20, the second of three such incidents in a 28-day period. Shown, from left, are Mayor Jay Newman, Committee member Mark Pancoast, telecommunicator Trish Callahan, EMT Larry Dubs, EMT Jenn Teasenfitz, EMT Supervisor John Brittin, EMS Chief Mellissa Coker, paramedic Trish Carey, Deputy Mayor Kim Hayes, and Committee Member Victor Nappen II.

By Christopher South

PETERSBURG – Upper Township Committee honored several of its emergency medical services (EMS) team, March 27, for saving three people on separate occasions from cardiac arrest in a 28-day period.
A medical emergency was reported at a residence in Seaville Jan. 6. Upper Township EMS and Seaville Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company responded to the residence where EMT John Brittin and Capt. Brian Allegretto found the family administering CPR, with 911 dispatchers Jim Lowe and James Hagger giving them instructions over the phone.
Allegretto took over giving chest compressions and Brittin administered one shock with an automated external defibrillator (AED). EMS Chief Mellissa Coker began setting up airways and supplemental oxygen.
Additional support was provided by Deputy Chief Rob Hiddeman, Deputy Chief Roy Blackledge, and Firefighter Robbie Lane.
Once in the ambulance, the AtlantiCare paramedics began treatment.
A medical emergency call in Marmora was received by Trish Callahan and Chris Belles, who dispatched Upper Township EMS to the scene in two minutes, Jan. 20.
EMTs Brittin and Jenn Teasenfitz found the patient lying on the floor, receiving no assistance from bystanders. They immediately began CPR and administered three shocks with the AED.
Meanwhile, a second crew, including Coker and EMT Larry Dubs set up an airway and supplemental oxygen. Transferred to an ambulance, AtlantiCare paramedics Trish Carey and Joe Lerner assumed patient care, assisted by the EMS crew.
A call came in for a medical emergency in Corbin City Feb. 3. Upper Township EMS and Tuckahoe Volunteer Fire Company were dispatched and found Tuckahoe Fire Safety Officer Bob Riggins Jr. in his vehicle in cardiac arrest.
EMTs John Carter and Mark Newman found Riggins unconscious. They removed him from his vehicle and began CPR and administered the AED.
EMTs Brittin and Angel Anderson assisted with ventilation and loading Riggins onto the ambulance. Additional support was provided by Tuckahoe Volunteer Fire Company members Chief Ed Carter, Andy Ferrier, Sean Ferrier, Chris Geib, Nick Mason, DJ Young, Kevin Loveless, Mark Gardella, Chris Hohman, Kevin Kuperstein, and Justin Hope, as well as Upper Township Volunteer Rescue Squad members Josh Tozer and Timothy Brittin.
In transport, AtlantiCare paramedics Brian Cavanaugh and Butch Schwenger were assisted by EMTs Brittin, Carter and Anderson.
All resolutions (103-2023, 104-2023, and 105-2023) noted that “due to the expert response coordination and lifesaving skills of these first responders, the patient is well on their way to a full recovery.”
Riggins’ daughter, Hailey Riggins, attended the committee meeting and personally thanked the first responders for saving her father’s life, as did her mother, Carol. 
Contact the author, Christopher South, at or 609-886-8600, ext. 128.

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