Do you know what to do in case of a medical emergency?

Earlier this month two Calgary Fire Department Safety Codes Officers were doing a routine inspection at a local Calgary store when they were approached by a distressed citizen asking if they were “on duty”. The officers said yes, and asked what the citizen needed. He responded that a customer in the store had collapsed by the checkout counters and needed help.

The officers went into the store and found a woman in cardiac arrest. 911 was called and, while his colleague went to get their medical kit, the officer in the store asked if anyone knew CPR. One customer did and began CPR on the lady. The officer then liaised with store staff to get the store’s AED(automated external defibrillator) which he then used to restart the lady’s heart. The two officers then continued with CPR until paramedics arrived on the scene to transport the lady to hospital.

When asked about the event, Calgary Fire Safety Codes Officer Darcy Coghill said “responding to medical emergencies is just part of our jobs. In my opinion, the people who did the best job were the store staff; they called 9-1-1 and knew the exact location of the AED. I also want to commend the bystander who, without hesitation offered to assist by doing CPR, despite acknowledging it had been a while since she’d last practiced it.”

Calgary Fire Safety Codes Officer Derek Arthurs said “I’d like to commend the witnesses to the event. They all stayed close by the woman, giving us room to work, but also assisting by providing vital information to store staff and paramedics, when they arrived on the scene.”

The reason this story is important is because everyone should know what to do in case of a medical emergency. They can happen to anyone, anywhere at any time. The first thing to do is call 9-1-1. Next see if a uniformed person is nearby – all Calgary Firefighters, Police and Emergency Response Personnel are trained to know what to do in case of an emergency. Then check to see if the individual is breathing. If not, start CPR. Knowing how to do CPR is truly a life-saving skill. Finally, see if there is an AED located nearby.

In the case of a medical emergency seconds really do count. Make sure you know what to do!