LIVERMORE -- Eric Drew believes his emergency medical training made him hear something beyond just a dog barking at his client's door.
The services director for Cabulance Comfort, a paratransit provider for the Livermore Amador Valley Transit Authority, was picking up a rider when he recognized an alert bark. He tracked down the building supervisor and called 911 when they found the client unresponsive.
"If I hadn't taken the actions I did, she probably would have expired in her apartment," he said.
Drew's actions earned him Q'Straint "Above and Beyond" Award by CalAct, a statewide organization representing the interests of specialized transportation providers. The award, bestowed on Drew in the spring, is presented to a driver "who has gone above and beyond the regular job duties to provide service to the special-needs population."
Paul Matsouka, LAVTA's executive director, said the agency's protocol requires that a driver call dispatch to phone the passenger if he or she doesn't appear at the curb and then wait five minutes before moving on to the next client.
"Eric followed our normal procedure, but he didn't stop there. He went to the next level of action," he said.
Matsouka said an incident occurred several years ago with the opposite result. LAVTA's board of directors also recognized Drew for his part in saving the woman's life on Aug. 15, 2012, by presenting him with a Certificate of Commendation at its September meeting.
Drew, who moved to Livermore about a year ago, hardly considers his actions heroic. A longtime volunteer firefighter who retired from the Santa Cruz department in December, Drew always carries medical gear with him.
"Doing this kind of thing isn't really uncommon for me," he said.
With the assistance of the 911 operator, Drew administered medication until the paramedics arrived. The woman required CPR in the ambulance on the way to the hospital after experiencing a series of heart attacks. She subsequently recovered.