Arena worker saves man’s life using defibrillator

Harrison Warmington receives a citizen commendation for helping save a mans life. Jake Jeffrey / 980 CFPL

For the second time in a matter of weeks, a quick-acting city of London worker has helped save a man’s life.

Harrison Warmington knew that Argyle Arena had a public access defibrillator, and even though he was comfortable using one, he didn’t think he would ever have to.

An arena operator at the east London rink, Warmington was flooding the ice following the final men’s league game on Sunday, March 18.

It was around 11 p.m. when a commotion in one of the dressing rooms caught his attention.

“All I heard was ‘we need help,’ so I entered the dressing room, and the individual was not breathing very well, in and out of consciousness, so I immediately called 911 and I went to the front office to get the defibrillator.”

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Warmington says they then started chest compressions before using the defibrillator.

READ MORE: City workers recognized for helping to save London man’s life

“He just lost consciousness and his heart stopped, he turned blue and we started chest compressions, then it was time to shock him,” said Warmington.

“We shocked him, his heart started beating but his breathing was still irregular, and then EMS showed up. It was perfect timing.”

He says there were some pretty tense moments before EMS showed up.

Trained in CPR as well, Warmington got his AED recertification about a week before the incident. He says, fortunately, his instincts took over.

“It’s definitely different, you’re unwrapping it and wondering if you even remember how to use it, but once you see something like that you either take charge or you don’t,” said Warmington.

“You’re not prepared to see it, but when you see someone in distress like that you do what you have to.”

Miranda Bothwell, public education coordinator with the Middlesex London Paramedic Service, says most people are too intimidated to try to use a defibrillator to help someone.

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“The training will help with your confidence like it did with Harrison, but anybody can get it off the wall,” said Bothwell.

“After you press the on button, the machine walks you through all the steps, and from there it will decide whether the heart rhythm is in a shockable rhythm.”

(L-R) Parks and Recreation Div. Manager Lynn Loubert, public education coordinator with the Middlesex London Paramedic Service Miranda Bothwell, Corporate Security and Emergency Management Div. Manager Dave O’Brien, Harrison Warmington, Deputy Chief of Middlesex London EMS Al Hunt. Jake Jeffrey / 980 CFPL

Bothwell stresses that defibrillators won’t shock someone unless their heart needs it.

He says there were some pretty tense moments before EMS showed up.

Lynn Loubert, the division manager for the city’s parks and recreation department, says London has 53 public access defibrillators at community centres, arenas and pools.

READ MORE: London one of five cities included in Ontario pilot program to increase digital literacy in youth

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Loubert says she’s proud of how Warmington acted when someone needed him most.

“It was textbook, he did exactly what he was trained for,” said Loubert.

“He responded very calmly, he did a phenomenal job and it’s gratifying to know that the equipment helped save a man’s life.”

He remains humble about the incident.

“No, I don’t feel like a hero, I didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary,” Warmington said.

Warmington says the man he saved came back to the arena days later to thank him, and although he didn’t recognize the person who helped save his life, Warmington says he was very grateful.

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