First responders and residents recognized for life saving efforts at Celebration of Life Awards

Awards presented during Paramedic Services Week

A Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service ambulance pulls out of a garage.
The Celebration of Life Awards pay tribute to residents and Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service members whose actions saved the lives of fellow community members.

Medical emergencies can be scary. When you call 9-1-1, Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service (WFPS) first responders are trained to get you help as quickly as possible. But, sometimes it also takes the quick actions of friends, family or people in the area to help save a life.

Held during Paramedic Services Week, the Celebration of Life Awards pay tribute to residents and WFPS members whose actions saved the lives of fellow community members. These are the personal stories of the medical calls highlighted during the 2024 awards ceremony.

Heart attack at work event

Mike Janciw was volunteering to set up for an event through work when his heart stopped.

Thanks to the quick actions of his co-workers, Mike is still with us today.

“We were pounding in some spikes, and all of a sudden someone yelled my name, and Mike had fallen,” said Tyler Lanoway, Mike’s coworker.

When he realized Mike was having trouble breathing, Tyler called 9-1-1 and followed the operator’s instructions to begin CPR right away.

“I just remember counting 1,2,3,4 with him (the call taker) on the phone, and others around,” Tyler said.

“The person doing by-stander CPR was doing a fabulous job of it,” said Dan Herzog, one of the WFPS paramedics who responded to the call.

“That, as we all know, is the beginning link in the chain of survival,” he added.

When first responders arrived on scene, they determined that Mike was having a STEMI heart attack. Thanks to Winnipeg’s STEMI protocol, they were able to get him the care he needed quickly.

Giving birth at home

Arlo Grant’s entrance into this world did not go as expected.

His mom, Lea, went into labour at home and called her midwife team for help. When midwife Marni McCluskey arrived, she jumped into action to help Lea give birth.

“She started pushing, and out popped a foot,” Marni said.

Once they realized the baby was breach, things changed quickly and they called 9-1-1 for extra help.

With the help of two midwives, a doula, and WFPS first responders, Arlo was born and given care immediately to help him with breathing. Paramedics transported both mom and baby to the hospital.

“About halfway through transport we started seeing some eye movement, we started seeing some fingers move, and it was nice to hear some weak cries when we arrived at the neonatal intensive care unit,” said Phil Hutlet, a District Chief of Paramedic Operations who helped transport baby Arlo.

“I think the outcome was positive due to the teamwork of all health care providers on scene,” added Patrick LaRoche, one of the paramedics who responded to the call. “From the medics, to the firemen, to the doulas, and midwives.”

Medical emergency at bootcamp

Sheryl Windsor was working out at a bootcamp class run by a physiotherapists’ office when she started to feel ‘off’. She sat down to take a break, but one of the physiotherapists running the class noticed something wasn’t right.

“I just kind of noticed that she just was kind of seeming, you know, a little bit more fatigued, a little bit more lethargic than she previously was, so I went over and checked on her,” said Sarah Gingera, a physiotherapist at Spire Physiotherapy.

After sitting for a little bit, Sheryl was starting to feel a little better and started working out again, but that’s when things got more serious.

“It was during the stretch that Sheryl collapsed,” said Michelle Pielech, another bootcamp participant.

Sarah immediately started taking Sheryl’s pulse. When she noticed Sheryl wasn’t breathing, she asked someone to call 9-1-1, and the participants of the bootcamp jumped into action.

Michelle called 9-1-1 and was directed to find the AED (automatic electronic defibrillator) and begin CPR. Sarah and Michelle worked together with another participant of the bootcamp, Meghan, to administer lifesaving care to Sheryl.

“Everybody seemed like they had a role, and they were executing that appropriately, someone was doing compressions, while another was handling the defibrillator,” said Winnipeg Fire Paramedic Service firefighter paramedic Eric Baldwin, who responded to the call.

Once firefighters and paramedics arrived on scene, they took over and were able to get Sheryl’s pulse back.

“The most important factor in Sheryl’s positive outcome from this situation was the quick actions of the physiotherapy staff. When Sarah and her team recognized that Sheryl was in crisis, they responded appropriately,” said Kaylie Anderson, one of the WFPS paramedics who responded to Sheryl’s emergency.

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