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Local first responders honoured at Survivor Day event - Importance of CPR training, public access defibrillators reinforced

Posted on Wednesday September 13, 2017

Cobourg, ON – September 13, 2017 – Karen Begbie was travelling along Highway 401 with family in June 2016 when she experienced a sudden cardiac arrest. The family immediately pulled over and her brother-in-law, trained in CPR, began administering chest compressions, while her sister and daughter flagged down passing commuters and called 9-1-1. Emergency personnel responding to the call ultimately delivered a defibrillation shock to Ms. Begbie’s heart, successfully reviving her. 

“A lot of things came together that day to make it possible for me to share my story now,” stated Ms. Begbie. “Certainly the experience reinforced for me the importance of CPR; I’m so grateful my brother-in-law was trained. And then the quick response and professionalism of the first responders, using a defibrillator right away to re-start my heart and delivering expert care all the way to the hospital—it was everyone working together like that that saved my life.”

Ms. Begbie’s story of survival was one of 14 shared at last evening’s Survivor Day event. Hosted by Northumberland County, this event is an opportunity for cardiac arrest survivors and families to reconnect with first responders who attended their emergency.

“Our first responders are responsible for the protection and preservation of life, in the early stages of an emergency,” stated County Warden Mark Walas. “In our times of greatest need, we often find ourselves relying on their skills, professionalism and compassion. On behalf of County Council, I congratulate all of the recipients of this year’s Lightning Bolt Award, and we thank these individuals for their continued service to the residents of Northumberland.”

The Survivor Day event is also an opportunity to shine a spotlight on the vital importance of CPR training among the general public. Speakers pointed to the direct impact of such training, as well as the broader availability of public access defibrillators, and the use of defibrillators by first responders, in achieving successful pre-hospital resuscitation of cardiac arrest patients.

“This event is a wonderful opportunity to focus on the full circle of pre-hospital care—from supportive by-standers who jump into action, to the teamwork among responding emergency services personnel—in making the ultimate difference in someone’s life,” indicated County CAO Jennifer Moore. “We are pleased to be able to celebrate such collaboration, and point specifically to how it is resulting in positive health outcomes for the members of our community.”

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