NEWARK, N.J.— With just a couple of months on the job as a Transportation Security Administration officer, one woman’s past work as an EMT kicked in when she hears a mother shouting for help in Newark Liberty International Airport.
The mom noticed her son wasn’t breathing, TSA officials said Thursday, December 23. She tried to rouse her 2-month-old son unsuccessfully.
TSA Officer Cecilia Morales hears the screams for help and shouted instructions to the mom.
“But she was so nervous and I knew if I didn’t get over there, it wasn’t going to be a good outcome,” Morales said. “I jumped over the checkpoint conveyor belt rollers and she gave me the baby. I performed the infant Heimlich maneuver on him.”
JUST IN: @TSA officer, a former EMT, hailed as a hero after she jumped over a checkpoint conveyor belt to perform Heimlich on an infant who stopped breathing at @EWRairport checkpoint, saving the baby’s life. #TSAHolidayMiracle. The news release: https://t.co/J1yuT05ysw pic.twitter.com/3NfRD7lvPh— Lisa Farbstein, TSA Spokesperson (@TSA_Northeast) December 23, 2021
Video from the airport captures Morales rushing to help.
“I saw the video afterward,” Morales said. “It was the first time I’ve ever seen myself in action, saving a life. It was mind-blowing to watch. I felt that my training and experience just took over.”
Together, they waited for a pediatric EMT to arrive and give the infant some oxygen.
Morales had done the Heimlich on adults and children in her decade as an EMT, but the incident at Newark was her first time performing the life-saving technique on a baby.
“Two months on the job and she’s literally a life-saver,” said Thomas Carter, TSA’s Federal Security director for New Jersey. “Officer Morales’s quick reaction and actions helped ensure that this family will have a happy holiday season. Her actions were inspiring.”