FAIRFIELD, NJ — Six Fairfield police officers were commended with lifesaving awards earlier this week for their assistance in reviving a 57-year-old man on Super Bowl Sunday after he suffered a massive heart attack.
Christopher Zawisla, the Fair Lawn resident whose life the officers saved, assisted Police Chief Anthony Manna with the presentation during Monday’s mayor and council meeting.
At approximately 10 p.m. on Feb. 2, Sgt. Steven Ptaszynski, Det. David Lagan and Officers David DeCarlo, Sean Wilk, Rick Alves and Kevin Chen all responded to a Sand Road residence to find an unresponsive Zawisla, who was not breathing and had no pulse.
According to Manna, the officers took over CPR from a friend who had initiated a recovery attempt, and they also applied an AED, ultimately shocking the victim six times. Zawisla eventually regained a pulse and began to breathe on his own, then regained consciousness in the ambulance while being transported to the Chilton Hospital.
“I would not be alive today if it weren’t for my friend giving me CPR until the Fairfield police officers came to continue CPR and applied an AED,” said Zawisla. “It only takes three-to-four minutes before brain damage occurs.”
Zawisla’s wife, Lucy, also expressed gratitude to the officers who assisted her and her husband that night.
“We were at a friend’s house in Fairfield enjoying a Super Bowl party when, while putting our coats on to leave, my husband collapsed,” she said. “The police officers were very polite, and I am very grateful to Officer Alves for giving me a ride to the hospital while the EMTs were working on my husband in the ambulance.”
Lucy added that her husband reported feeling sick earlier in the day prior to becoming unresponsive, but didn’t think much of it.
The chief emphasized this point, stating that the incident once again highlighted the department’s campaign calling for those who are not feeling well, to immediately call EMS to be assessed.
“Very often, those experiencing cardiac issues will receive warning signs before they become unresponsive,” said Manna. “People need to take these warning signs seriously and need to seek medical attention immediately.”
While at the hospital, Zawisla received three stents, but is reportedly doing well nearly a month after the officers saved his life.
He and his wife are pictured above along with a group photo of the commended officers.