Four Saanich aquatic staff were recently honoured with Vital Link awards from BC Emergency Health Services for their quick and skillful life-saving actions during a cardiac arrest emergency.
Current employees Katie Bowers and Ceilidh Robertson-Jones and previous employees Jeff Harris and Wade Thoreson were nominated by paramedic Mike Sugimoto for their heroism in rushing to the aid of a patron when he collapsed due to cardiac arrest at the Gordon Head Recreation Centre.
On July 4, 2017, Ted Frechette was in the weight room when he suddenly collapsed in an apparent cardiac arrest. Prior to the arrival of the paramedics, lifeguards Bowers and Robertson-Jones rushed to his side and began to perform CPR. With help from Harris and Thoreson, the team also used the centre’s automated external defibrilator (AED) and were able to successfully resuscitate him. Paramedics Sugimoto and Melissa Sims arrived on scene soon after.
“We know that the two biggest contributors to cardiac arrest survival are the speed with which CPR is started, and how long before a defibrillator arrives at the patient’s side,” said Sugimoto in a release. “Practically speaking, we’re all dependent on each other to help in these kinds of emergencies, and Katie, Ceilidh, Wade and Jeff did exactly that. It’s important that we acknowledge and recognize the role they played in ensuring a successful outcome for Mr. Frechette — their efforts made the difference in his care, and they should be applauded for it.”
“In my many years of using recreational centres like the YMCA and Gordon Head, I saw staff and lifeguards doing safety training,” said Frechette. “Until my incident at Gordon Head, I didn’t realize how well prepared they were to provide excellent lifesaving critical care.”
Sandra Pearson, manager of the recreation centre, commends the staff members for their bravery and life-saving skill.
“We’re very proud of all of our highly trained aquatics teams at both Gordon Head Recreation Centre and Saanich Commonwealth Place, and the good work they do each and every day in their work of prevention, safety and first aid for our patrons,” said Pearson.
The Vital Link Award is presented by BC Emergency Health Services to honour the skillful actions of bystanders (in this case employees) at a cardiac arrest emergency.