Sep 12, 2013 12:30 AM by Rebecca Taylor

Firefighter in training saves her mother's life

TUCSON - A college student with the goal of becoming a firefighter put her training to use.

The 18 year old is being credited with saving her mom's life after she suffered a severe allergic reaction.

It happened during a family birthday party.

Victoria Russell's mom accidentally swallowed bacon on a slice of pizza. But she's allergic to pork.

Russell says that's when her EMT training at the Joint Technical Education District or JTED kicked in.

"My mouth was tingling, I couldn't breathe, my throat was seizing up," describes Karen, Russell's mother.

"She's going into anaphylactic shock, she needed epinephrine," says Russell, "I guess I was thinking out loud because she says I was shouting it."

With her mom collapsed on the floor, Russell took control of the situation.

Thankfully a cousin had some life saving medicine, an Epi pen.

Chief Robert DiPietro is Russell's instructor at JTED, "It's being in the right place, at the right time and doing the right thing. That's what she did. I'm very proud of her. She kept her head, did a good job."

Russell graduated from DiPietro's EMT class last year, and now acts as a student teacher.

He says when medics arrived on scene Russell kept her cool.

"She quoted protocol, just as plain as you and I are talking," says Karen, "And she did it to full grown men in uniform without ever stammering."

A Girl Scout since second grade, Russell says it wasn't until her mom was wheeled away in an ambulance that her emotions set it.

"I've never cried so much in my life," says Russell, "I was so scared."

Russell says her dream of becoming a firefighter began at age 13. She wants to be a role model for teens.

"I'm not going to say I want girls to be just like me, I want them to be better than me," says Russell, "If I can make little girls proud to be strong women, pursue their future. That's my biggest goal."

Russell completed JTED's EMT and Fire Service Training with a 4.0 grade point average.

She's now attending Pima College and testing for the Tucson Fire Academy.


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