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Four SFRD members receive Phoenix Award for life-saving

By Staff | Jan 19, 2011

Firefighter/Paramedic Tony Fontaine, right, reacts to receiving his first Phoenix Award last Wednesday afternoon from Sanibel Fire & Rescue District Chief Danny Duncan.

Last Wednesday afternoon, four members from the Sanibel Fire & Rescue District received praise for their efforts in saving the life of an island worker late last year.

Assistant Chief Matt Scott, Capt. John Griffith, Firefighter/Paramedic Bill Briscoe and Firefighter/Paramedic Tony Fontaine each received the prestigious Phoenix Award, given to members of the squad who have helped bring back an unresponsive patient to life.

According to SFRD Training Officer Tim Barrett, an emergency call came in to Fire Station #1 on Nov. 4, 2010. The incident involved a male in his early 40’s complaining of chest pains. When first responders arrived at the scene, the man had already collapsed.

Acting quickly, the SFRD crew revived the patient with the use of an AED (automated external defibrillator) and transported him to HealthPark Medical Center in Fort Myers. While in transport, the patient was “lost” a second time, but revived with another shock. The man was stabilized by the time he arrived for treatment at HealthPark.

“He was released 4 or 5 days later,” added Barrett, “with no neurological damage.”

Firefighter/Paramedic Bill Briscoe, right, is congratulated by Chief Danny Duncan for receiving his sixth Phoenix Award.

Chief Danny Duncan presented the awards to his fellow district employees, praising their preparedness in responding to all emergency situations.

“All of the training that Tim puts them through, month after month, really pays off,” said Duncan.

Fontaine, who joined the SFRD eight months ago after working in the same capacity in Lehigh Acres, was thrilled to receive his first Phoenix Award.

“It feels great to receive an award that acknowledges all of the hard work you put into this job,” he said. “This is a great team. It really makes a difference when you work with people who care so much about saving lives.”

Briscoe, who now has six of the district’s 28 Phoenix Awards handed out since 1999, added, “I’ve been doing this for 15 years. It’s just part of the job.”

Capt. John Griffith, who has received four Phoenix Awards, along with Duncan.

For Griffith, who received his fourth Phoenix Award in 14 years of service with the SFRD, emphasized the importance of training for any emergency situation.

“This is exactly why we do this — to bring somebody back,” said Griffith. “Sometimes people don’t come back, so when we have a positive effect and a successful outcome, it’s all worth it.”

Assistant Chief Matt Scott received his award from Chief Danny Duncan.