Frontenac County man makes cardiac arrest save through Neighbours Saving Neighbours

Click to play video: 'Frontenac County program training regular people to save lives'
Frontenac County program training regular people to save lives
RELATED: A new program, "Neighbours Saving Neighbours" will see Frontenac County residents get CPR and AED training to respond in emergency cardiac situations – Mar 29, 2023

A Frontenac County man is being recognized for his fast actions that officials say saved a neighbour’s life.

Mark Sherwin is a volunteer responder with Neighbours Saving Neighbours (NSN), a program spearheaded by Queen’s University in partnership with Frontenac Paramedics designed to crowdsource first-response aid to help people having an emergency.

In February, Sherwin jumped into action after a mobile app alerted him to a possible cardiac arrest nearby, grabbing his NSN automated external defibrillator (AED) and using it to effect the program’s first cardiac arrest save.

Sherwin was awarded a Frontenac Paramedics Chief’s Commendation for his work at the Frontenac County Council meeting Wednesday.

“It was four minutes from the time I got the notification to pads-on-chest,” Sherwin said in a release from Frontenac Paramedics.

“This was the sixth time I was activated but the first time I applied an AED as an NSN responder.”

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Officials from Frontenac Paramedics say if Sherwin had not begun treatment as quickly as he did, his patient would not have survived.

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“It’s a great pleasure for us at Frontenac Paramedics to recognize Mr. Sherwin for his dedication and skill,” Frontenac Paramedics Chief Gale Chevalier said in a statement.

“He not only demonstrated that the NSN program can and does work but he made the first and most important contribution that day to saving a person’s life.”

Neighbours Saving Neighbours responders are recruited, trained, and overseen by Frontenac Paramedics while the pilot program and study is led by a research group at Queen’s University under the leadership of Dr. Steven Brooks.

The 18-month pilot  was started last year and Brooks has previously told Global News they’ll  use the volunteers’ experience to gather as much data as they can, before taking a broader look at the impact.

“We are looking for people who are interested in helping their neighbours and making their communities more safe,” said Brooks, who is part of the Queen’s University Emergency Medicine department.

According to Frontenac Paramedics, the chances of survival for someone experiencing cardiac arrest decrease by about 10 per cent every minute before emergency treatment begins.

Through the pilot program regular people living in Frontenac County, which is largely rural, can receive free CPR and AED training, as well as an AED to keep at the ready.

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They also get a special app that notifies them instantly when a cardiac call happens nearby.

Frontenac Paramedics says there are roughly 86 trained and active NSN responders across Frontenac and another 60 or so who are eligible and are in various stages of onboarding.

They say there is still room for more volunteers and Sherwin says he hopes to see more join up.

“NSN is a useful and necessary program,” he said.

“Many of us are already trained and equipped, so I hope the program continues after the pilot project ends next year. It’s a small price to pay for saving someone’s life.”

More information on the program, including how to apply can be found on the Frontenac County website.

— with files from Ryan Peddigrew

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