Becki Salmon doesn’t consider herself a hero.
As a trained parademic, the Andorra resident says saving a drowning child from the murky banks of the Wissahickon Creek last month is “just what we do.”
But for the mother of the young child, Salmon was the difference between her son’s life and death.
Off the clock but always on-guard
Salmon and her fiancé, Matt Werner, headed to the Creek with their friend and photogragher to take engagement photos on June 29. After three hours and more than 200 photos in the muggy, hot weather, they were ready to call it quits. They finished shooting at their last location while two small children played in the creek behind them. No sooner had photographer, Ken Beerger picked up on the abnormal movement of one of those kids had Salmon dove into the water to save him.
“There’s a visible difference between someone who is playing and someone who is drowning,” said Salmon, who also has experience as a lifeguard. “I saw his little hands trying to pull himself up and his head bobbing up and down and I was in.”
Beerger, who is also a trained paramedic, said the water was so murky that, had just a few more seconds passed and the child became submerged, it would have taken minutes to find him in the water.
Salmon knew that the job wasn’t finished when the child was out of the water. She feared for his life when he was silent, but after hitting his back to aid him in coughing up the water he’d swallowed, she was overjoyed to hear his voice. Returning the child to his mother, Salmon finished the rescue by urging her to immediately go to the hospital, and gave directions to the closest one, explaining the dangers of dry drowning.
‘Not abnormal’ for Becki
Werner was not surprised in the least by his fiancé’s immediate action.
“When you know Becki, she is always going 100 miles an hour; it just was not abnormal for her to put someone else’s life in front of her own.”
Werner, who is also in the field of Emergency Medical Services, said that the attention the event has received surprises him.
“Once you’re in the public safety community you’re always on alert. Becki would have gone in the water in her wedding dress.” Salmon agreed.
“It wasn’t a big deal that I went to get him, we don’t clock off when we get off as paramedics. I went in, he was safe and that was done.” She does concede, however that the circumstances were lucky.
“Thank God we knew what to do. Thank God my fiancé was there if something had gone wrong. It was definitely a thank God moment. But it was a moment that, if had happened tomorrow, it would have gone the same way.”