Having worked as a paramedic in Terrace Bay in his younger years, when Palladino Honda inventory manager Paul Marcon saw a customer collapse at the business June 26, his reaction was automatic.
He said he'd been talking to a woman, who is in her 70s, about a vehicle out in the car dealership's parking lot, when she suddenly fell to the ground.
Marcon thought at first she had heat stroke, as it was a warm day, but quickly realized she was breathing irregularly, and her condition was much more serious than he'd originally thought.
He flagged down a co-worker to phone 911, and monitored the customer's breathing and pulse. When she stopped breathing, he began artificial respiration.
“Then when I could not feel a pulse, miraculously the ambulance showed up,” he said.
Marcon said he doesn't know too much about how the woman is doing now, but does know she survived. Given his former occupation, he said helping others comes naturally to him.
City of Greater Sudbury officials showed up at Palladino Honda June 28 to honour Marcon for his actions. He'll also be commended for being a good Samaritan at the July 9 city council meeting.
“I think it's awesome,” said Tim Beadman, the city's chief of emergency services.
“What he did is what we've been preaching, and what we're trying to get the message out about, that CPR works. So get trained, because you don't know if it's a loved one, or a member of your family or a citizen that's just walking by.”
Paramedics respond to more than 300 calls each year where the victim has no vital signs, and about half of those people have the potential to be revived by CPR, he said.
“Of those 150, if citizen CPR is initiated, the chance of survival for that person is 100-fold higher,” Beadman said.
Nation-wide, CPR has a less than five per cent success rate, but in Sudbury, that number is 15 per cent, he said. That's because defibrillators are in so many places throughout the city, and many people have CPR training.
Then there's the fact that about 15 per cent of all cardiac arrests happen in a public place or a workplace.
Given these statistics, Beadman is encouraging businesses to train their employees on CPR or even purchase defibrillators, which typically cost $3,000 to $5,000.
He also asks individuals to consider getting trained on their own time. Even for those who have had training in the past, it's important to update your knowledge, as CPR has changed over the last few years, Beadman said.
“They've changed in a way that the first responder and the citizen is going to give chest compression versus the ventilation aspect,” he said. “Today's standards are more focused on the chest compression vs. ventilation.”
Lee Mulligan, general sales manager at Palladino Honda, said it would be an understatement to say he was amazed at Marcon's actions.
“I was really impressed with how in control Paul was,” he said.
“We make sure that all of our staff are properly trained in CPR and all the rest. But I would say that until you actually have to experience something like that, you don't know how you're going to react. He was amazing.”
While Palladino Honda's staff already have CPR training, he said the company is now seriously looking at purchasing a defibrillator.
Mulligan encourages other businesses to think about training staff as well.
“100 per cent,” he said. “Whether it's required or not, if everybody spent the time to get themselves educated in what to do in those situations, then there's obviously going to be some lives saved.”