Sportsplex employees recognized for life-saving use of defibrillator

CENTRE WELLINGTON – Two Centre Wellington Community Sportsplex employees were recognized at the 6th annual Guelph-Wellington Paramedic Service (GWPS) awards dinner on Oct. 4 for their use of a defibrillator to save a man’s life.

On Aug. 6 manager of recreation programs and customer service Bruce Parkin and administrative assistant Sydney Shelp used a automated external defibrillator (AED) and administered CPR on a man who had gone into cardiac arrest while playing pickleball at the sportsplex.

One of the other players alerted sportsplex staff, who called 911, and brought the AED unit to Parkin and Shelp, who performed CPR and successfully used the AED to resuscitate the player.

“I’ve been trained in CPR and been an instructor in CPR for 20 years or so … but it’s a whole different thing when you’re actually having to kind of step in and use it,” said Parkin.

“This experience was intimidating to say the least. I was glad to be able to support the rescue, wherever I could. It almost seems unreal when I think back at the incident,” said Shelp.

The individual made a full recovery and Shelp and Parkin both won Citizens Lifesaving Awards during the dinner for their efforts.

When a publicly accessible AED is used in a community setting the GWPS superintendent is notified so that the unit can be picked up and replaced until new pads and batteries are put in.

Commander Paul Boshart went to the sportsplex to provide a debrief and talk through the event.

“We just decided to start recognizing these events. Not everyone has a positive outcome. The stats are usually 40,000 cardiac arrests in Canada a year, and less than 5% will survive,” Boshart said.

“All first aid CPR courses have an AED component in it because we’re trying to promote public access defibrillator use as part of the chain of survival: early calls to 911, early CPR, early defib, advanced life support.”

When asked what being recognized meant, both Shelp and Parkin attributed the positive outcome to the access to an AED unit.

“It’s nice to get the recognition. More than anything  we’re glad for that positive outcome. The gentleman … he came by with his daughters a few weeks ago,” said Parkin. “I’m thankful to the AED program; I’m thankful for all the work that’s been done the grants that have been available to to get AEDs into public buildings.”

“It is important to show the accomplishments of AEDs and how important they are in a rescue. Hopefully when people share their experiences, more information will be available to the public and then more people will learn about how to help,” Shelp said.

Other places where AED units are publicaly accessible in emergency situations include: the Elora Community Centre, Elora Tourism office, town hall, the Fergus Grand Theatre, Victoria Park Senior Centre and Belwood Hall.

Other locals recognized

Veteran paramedic Mike Dick from Wellington County was recognized for 30 years of service and was awarded a watch and a service pin.

Wellington North Fire Chief Dave Guilbault was a guest speaker at the event and shared his experience as a sudden cardiac arrest survivor. Guilbault personally thanked paramedic Amy Benn, who was involved in the call.