Arena staff save two people’s lives

Trained in CPR and in the use of an AED, arena employees credited with quick-thinking action

John Marcellus

John Marcellus

Some heroic actions by staff at Oceanside Place will no doubt result in a happy Christmas for a couple of families.

Over the past three months, staff at the Parksville ice arena have been involved in two separate incidents that required their training in CPR and application of the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) which then lead to two lives saved that might have otherwise have been lost.

According to Tom Osborne, General Manager of Recreation and Parks for the Regional District of Nanaimo, staff came to the aid of an arena patron who had collapsed with no vital signs, while playing hockey on the Howie Meeker Arena on September 21.

He said with the help of a bystander, staff reacted with professionalism, tact, effectiveness and efficiency in all aspects of the emergency, from dealing directly with the notification of 911, supporting each other and the arena patrons.

“Their efforts during the critical time before emergency services arrived, without a doubt, saved a life,” he said.

The patron, Bernie Diakow, is now recovering at his home in Parksville after nine weeks at Victoria General Hospital where he underwent heart by-pass surgery.

The long time member of the Parksville Golden Oldies Sports Association hockey team is hoping to get back to the arena to play with his team in the near future.

On December 7, another hockey player collapsed in the Victor Kraatz arena. Osborne said staff activated the emergency alarm, then headed to the scene with the emergency first aid kits which contains the AED.

“Our arena staff were already at the scene checking the patron’s vitals and starting CPR.”

According to Osborne, John Marcellus, Valerie McNutt, Clayton Bannatyne, and Mike Chestnut began CPR and prepared the AED for use.

The AED was then administered and CPR continued until a pulse was detected. EMS arrived approximately five to seven minutes from the time of the call to 911.

“Once again the actions of our staff at the Oceanside Place helped save a second life.”

“The wife of the patron was told by the ambulance attendants and hospital staff that if CPR and the AED were not administered when it was, her husband would not be with us today.  We are pleased to say this wife will now likely have her husband home for Christmas.”

The staff involved with the event on September 21 with the application of CPR and the use of the AED included: Mike Chestnut, Clayton Bannantyne, Charles Stockland and Sandra Pearson. Other staff assisting in the emergency action included Dean Banman, Dan Porteous, John Marcellus, Melinda Burton, Randy Whyte, Debbie Couturier, Ann-Marie Harvey, Judith Koeleman, Valerie McNutt, Wendi Murray, Jennifer Hopewell, Cathy MacKenzie and Dave Awram.