Fernie local recognised for life-saving actions

Iain Davidson (left) with Andy MacFarlane. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)Iain Davidson (left) with Andy MacFarlane. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)
Iain Davidson being presented with a BCEHS Vital Life Link Award by Primary Care Paramedic Jean Boyd. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)Iain Davidson being presented with a BCEHS Vital Life Link Award by Primary Care Paramedic Jean Boyd. (Scott Tibballs / The Free Press)

Local electrician Iain Davidson has been awarded with a BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) Vital Life Link Award for his actions which saved another man’s life in 2021.

Davidson, and local stonemason Andy MacFarlane were both working at a jobsite in the Cedars in August last year, when MacFarlane went into cardiac arrest.

After calling 911, Davidson performed CPR with the assistance of a BCEHS call taker, and continued with compressions until first responders arrived to take over. His wife stayed on the call relaying information throughout the 15-minute gap between making the call and first responders arriving.

The story had a happy resolution for MacFarlane thanks to the actions of those around him and first responders. MacFarlane was transferred to the Elk Valley Hospital and then Foothills in Calgary, and was discharged a few weeks later.

Primary care paramedic Jean Boyd presented the Vital Link Award to Davidson on August 5, saying it was an honour to be able to give one out.

“We don’t often get to do this,” she said. Also at the presentation were representatives from fire and rescue and the BCEHS.

Vital Link Awards are given to bystanders who take action by performing CPR and make a difference in patient recovery, with ‘Vital Link’ referring to the first link of survival for those who suffer cardiac arrest.

“Over 45,000 Canadians suffer cardiac arrest out of hospital each year, and CPR along with the use of AED increases the survival rate by about 75 percent,” said Boyd.

Boyd thanked Davidson for his efforts which saved MacFarlane’s life, and gave a shoutout to everyone else that responded to the call. “It was a real team effort to help Andy that day.”

MacFarlane said he appreciated being able to get to see and put a name to the people who helped save his life. “I could walk along the street and not recognise you … without a meeting like this I wouldn’t know.

“It’s special to meet you all.”

Up to date first aid training is encouraged for everyone. Locally, courses are offered through the College of the Rockies.

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scott.tibballs@thefreepress.ca
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