A woodworking and finishing shop owner in Squamish, B.C., was awarded Monday for helping save his business partner’s life almost three years ago using CPR.
Alaster Osborne and Marc Dandurand were working late at Squamish Finishing Solutions on Dec. 16, 2019, when Dandurand accidentally electrocuted himself. He had been working on an illuminated piece of wooden artwork as a Christmas gift for his parents.
“I was upstairs and I just heard a big bang from the shop floor,” Osborne recalled at the award ceremony in Squamish. “I shouted down to Marc to make sure he was okay, and I never got a response from him.”
Osborne rushed down to find Dandurand in the midst of cardiac arrest.
He unplugged the plug Dandurand had just touched and began CPR. After several rounds, Osborne said he ran upstairs to call 911 for help, but was informed the closest ambulance was about 15 minutes away.
He continued to perform CPR, with support from the dispatchers, until paramedics arrived, all the while shouting for help through the workshop’s open door.
“Alaster played an instrumental role in saving Marc’s life,” said BJ Chute, station chief for the B.C. Ambulance Service in Squamish. “Alaster gave mark a second chance at survival because he acted quickly and courageously.”
Osborne was awarded the BC Emergency Health Services’ (BCEHS) Vital Link Award on Monday. The award honours bystanders who perform potentially life-saving CPR either with or without an automated external defibrillator.
“I appreciate it so much. Words can’t describe it. I just want to thank you all,” Osborne said, acknowledging the paramedics, police, firefighters and call-takers who assisted that day.
“You guys are the heroes in my opinion. I would do what I done for anybody in need in any situation … I’m just happy the outcome was a positive one and Marc is able to be here and be here today.”
When first responders arrived at the Squamish shop, Dandurand said they performed about 35 minutes of CPR on top of what Osborne had already done. He was shocked with an AED repeatedly on the way to the hospital, he added. It was the fifth shock that finally restarted his heart.
“I woke up in the hospital a little confused, but I woke up,” Dandurand told reporters at the shop.
“(I was) so lucky because (Osborne) wasn’t supposed to have still been at the shop, he was just staying late to book his flight home and he ended up getting sidetracked on the computer.”
Dandurand said it took about a year for his symptoms to go away, but he has made a full recovery.
“I’m thankful for every minute I have now,” he added.
BCEHS, meanwhile, is encouraging everyone to learn CPR.
According to Chute, more than 45,000 Canadians suffer an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest each year, and bystander CPR initiated with an AED can increase the odds of survival by up to 75 per cent.
“CPR can be done by anyone who has basic training or is being coached by someone who is trained, such as our B.C. ambulance dispatchers and call-takers,” he said.
Chute described Osborne’s actions as “heroism.”