Jacob Schrader saved four lives in a year, but for him the miraculous track record was just part of the job.
Schrader had been a Washington state Department of Fish and Wildlife police officer in Ferry County, a rural mountainous county in the state’s northeast corner, since 2019 when the first of the unrelated rescues happened.
“It makes me appreciate what I have,” Schrader said in an interview with the Tri-City Herald.
In May 2021, he was the first to arrive on the scene to help someone who was unconscious and not breathing. As EMS support arrived, Schrader put the person on their side to open up the airways. He then inserted a Nasopharyngeal Airway Device to help the person breathe.
“Congratulations to Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife Police Officer Jacob Schrader who was honored yesterday with not one Life Saving Award, but FOUR!” read a DFW Facebook post on Aug. 24.
The post credited his “extensive medical training, knowledge, and decisiveness” for the rescues.
Schrader also points to his training and experience, including four years as a paratrooper in the Army, and as a Search and extraction medic at the 141st Medical Group atFairchild AFB.
He says at Fish and Wildlife, he values the mentoring and guidance gained from more experienced colleagues in his home region of Ferry County.
“A large part of my successes are the guys I work with here,” he said. “They are great role models. I work with a lot of great people.”
The same day in May last year, Schrader was at the scene of another near-fatality. This time it was a 1-year-old who also was unconscious and had started to turn blue from lack of oxygen.
“Schrader recognized the severity of the situation and transported the infant to the hospital himself, simultaneously holding the infant to give him CPR and driving,” notes the WDFW post about his award.
The baby survived and was released from the hospital soon after.
A native son of Washington state, Schrader is a graduate of Bethel High School in Spanaway and attended Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma. He says that he relies on his skills as a professional to carry him through such precarious situations.
“Once there’s a problem, I rely on my training and experience,” Schrader said. “It’s a lot of automatic response. The department training is great.”
The other two rescues came in 2022. The first in January when Schrader and a Ferry County deputy arrived on the scene to check on a report of someone yelling for help.
The remote location and time of year forced the officers to hike in through deep snow levels to help someone who had suffered a stroke.
Isolated and lacking certain equipment, Schrader made an improvised stretcher from common household items. He and the deputy carried the stroke victim through the snow to a waiting ambulance.
Schrader’s final rescue came in April 2022 when he gave the Heimlich Maneuver to someone who was choking at a restaurant in Republic.
“I enjoy doing it,” said Schrader, noting that stepping up to help when there’s trouble should just be the right thing to do. “It needs to be done more in this day and age.”
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