DALLAS -- Travis Lock didn't know it, but he was about to get a precompetition test.
The 25-year-old Dallas firefighter and emergency medical technician was soundly sleeping on his Continental flight to Texas on June 17. Lock was part of a nine-member team from the Dallas station en route to a competition hosted by the International Rescue and Emergency Care Association that would throw them into emergency situations and test their skills.
"Ma'am? Ma'am? Are you OK?"
One row ahead of him, Lock heard a distressed flight attendant questioning a middle-aged woman having a seizure in her seat.
"It's not one of those things you expect to happen on a flight, let alone wake up to," Lock said. "Looking at (the scene) and what they were saying, I knew right then there was some sort of medical emergency."
Before he knew it, his instincts kicked in and Lock was on his feet to help and assess the situation.
He said he could feel the other passengers in the packed plane become fearful all around him as the woman shook.
The seizing stopped after about a minute, and one of the flight attendants administered oxygen and acted as backup. Lock said he was nervous because he had a medical emergency on an airplane that wasn't due to land in Texas for another hour and a half.
He said he learned the woman had fallen in the restroom and hit her head, and made it back to her seat before the seizures.
The rest of the flight, he sat beside the woman or watched her from his seat nearby to make sure the seizures did not return.
When they landed at the airport, paramedics were waiting and Lock said she was fully oriented by the time she was taken off the plane.
Lock said six members of the team from Dallas were on that plane, but they were sprinkled throughout the seats and he was the one to help because he was the nearest to the incident.
"I happened to be the one closest to her, that's all it was," Lock said.
Two days later, Lock and his team were thrown into emergency scenarios and came out in first place in a vehicle-extrication competition.
Proudly, Lock admitted the real emergency on the airplane helped him react more quickly to help the Dallas Fire Department take home the prize.
Fire Chief Bill Hahn said those with emergency training often feel obligated to provide assistance in such situations.
"(However,) this was unique that (Lock) had to provide some type of assistance in the air," Hahn said.
Joining Lock on the winning Dallas team were Clete Schmitke, Shawn Wagner, Sean Condon, Gary Hibbeler, Joanna Hibbeler, Paul McCallum, Tony James and Ken Waller.