Frontenac resident commended for lifesaving actions through Neighbours Saving Neighbours program

Frontenac County resident Mark Sherwin receives a Chief’s Commendation from Frontenac Paramedics Chief Gale Chevalier at the meeting of Frontenac County Council held Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2024. Supplied image.

Frontenac County resident Mark Sherwin was awarded the Frontenac Paramedics Chief’s Commendation after being the first volunteer with the Neighbours Saving Neighbours (NSN) program to perform a cardiac arrest save. The award is presented for meritorious or courageous action in recognition of effort, bravery, and service.

Neighbours Saving Neighbours (NSN) is an innovative program which aims to improve emergency response times for cardiac events throughout Frontenac County. Volunteer responder Mark Sherwin effected the program’s first cardiac arrest save in February, and was recognized at the Wednesday, Mar. 20, 2024, meeting of Frontenac County Council.

According to a release from Frontenac County, Kingston Central Ambulance Communications Centre communications officers alerted Sherwin via a mobile app to a nearby possible cardiac arrest emergency that was reported via a 911 call. He happened to be very close to the scene, and was able to get there and begin treatment with his NSN automated external defibrillator (AED) in the critical minutes before emergency medical personnel arrived.

“It was four minutes from the time I got the notification to pads-on-chest,” Sherwin stated. “This was the sixth time I was activated, but the first time I applied an AED as an NSN responder.”

A cardiac arrest save happens when a patient experiences cardiac arrest, has their circulation improved or restored through emergency treatment, is transported to hospital for further treatment, and then goes on to recover well enough to be discharged from hospital, according to Frontenac County.

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

According to the release, there are about 60,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests in Canada each year. The probability of survival for someone who experiences one decreases by as much as 10 per cent per minute before emergency treatment begins. Fewer than 12 per cent of out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patients recover.

If Sherwin had not begun treatment as quickly as he did, his patient would not have survived, the County stated.

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

NSN responders are recruited, trained, and overseen by Frontenac Paramedics. The NSN pilot program and study is led by a research group at Queen’s University under the leadership of Dr. Steven Brooks. According to the release, NSN volunteer responders are trained in CPR and the safe use of an AED. They are equipped with AEDs and alerted via the GoodSam app when paramedics are dispatched to a nearby possible cardiac arrest emergency. If NSN responders happen to arrive before paramedics do, they may begin treatment and possibly save a life.

Frontenac County said that there are approximately 86 trained and active NSN responders across the county, and another 60 or so who are eligible and are in various stages of onboarding. There is still room for more volunteers.

For more information about NSN and how to apply to become an NSN volunteer responder visit https://engagefrontenac.ca/neighbours-saving-neighbours.

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