Getting to Know

Nurse and firefighter a star on and away from the small screen

2014-04-21T00:00:00Z Nurse and firefighter a star on and away from the small screenTimes Staff
April 21, 2014 12:00 am  • 

Lori Postma, R.N., emergency preparedness and bioterrorism coordinator at Franciscan Healthcare Munster, will appear next week in an episode of the NBC-TV show "Chicago Fire," but that isn't her only claim to fame.

Postma was at Sam's Club in Merrillville on March 14 when she heard a store announcement asking if there was a doctor or nurse in the store. She rushed over to see if she could help, and saw a woman lying on the ground and another woman crying.

"The woman had a pulse, but she was blue and not breathing," Postma said. "I knelt down to listen for breathing, but there was none. I used a Jaw-Thrust maneuver to try to open her airway; I repositioned a few times and heard a small gasp.

"Then I performed a sternal rub to stimulate breathing. She began to breathe on her own and regained color quickly. I held C-spine until the ambulance got there. By then, she was waking up."

Afterward, the manager of Sam's Club thanked Lori. “She called me a hero," Lori said. "I’m not a hero. God puts us in the right place at the right time to do the right thing.'"

In addition to her real-life work, Postma is a firefighter for the Lake Township Fire Department in Lake Village.

Her passion for emergency care recently led her to Chicago, where she took part in the filming of a special two-part "Chicago Fire" and "Chicago P.D." television crossover event that airs at 9 p.m. April 29 and 30.

Initially cast as a firefighter extra, she was asked to take on a larger role as a “featured extra” after producers learned of her nursing skills. Using her professional knowledge, she is shown in scenes caring for patients and giving instructions while being featured as a disaster nurse.

For more than two weeks, Postma spent weekends and days off filming in the now empty Sears Merchandise Building Tower in the Lawndale neighborhood of Chicago. “I had a great time and learned how much goes into 43 actual minutes of a TV show,” Postma said. “It was easy to get into the role, because the types of scenes we filmed are things I’ve actually trained for.”

“I am a nurse 24/7 and my mission remains the same, whether it is at a hospital or at Sam’s Club,” Postma said. “Filming a disaster scene on TV was fun because it shows the public what really goes into real-life disaster preparedness.”

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