NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — She is 21 years old, looks more like a teenager and is hardly your typical vision of the heroic lifeguard.
But Emily Harms from Bellerose, Queens is all that and more.
An 11-year-old boy might not be alive if not for her heroism. CBS 2’s Scott Rapoport spoke with her Thursday and heard the remarkable story.
For the last six summers of her life the perky, freckle-faced lifeguard would head off to work every day at the Royal Ranch Club pool in Queens, where the most heroic thing she’d deal with would be, as she put it, “a couple of falls, a couple of scraped knees — nothing too exciting.”
But that all changed on Wednesday.
In the early afternoon, she heard screams coming from the shallow end of the pool — an 11-year-old boy was drowning. His unconscious, lifeless body was carried out of the water by his mother.
“He wasn’t moving,” Harms said.
That’s when she bolted into action and immediately started performing rescue breathing and CPR on the boy, actions that ultimately helped bring him back to life.
“You really don’t have time to think,” she said.
Harms said that she could see the boy starting to breathe. The boy was taken to Long Island Jewish Medical Center and has since been treated and released. Harms, it turns out, comes from a family of lifeguards.
Despite the rescue, she said she feels uncomfortable with being called a hero.
“We’re trained to do this. If I didn’t do this, I’m not doing my job,” she said.
Harms was also quick to credit two other pool members and emergency medical technicians, who all helped with the rescue.