Clayton Raymond remembers his CPR training like it was yesterday, but he never realized that it would one day be used to save someone’s life.
On Aug. 24, 2015, the Victoria resident was vising Our Place when he came across a woman suffering an opioid overdose outside the building in the 900 block of Pandora Avenue.
There were no naloxone kits available and the woman was unresponsive and quickly turning blue. That’s when Raymond sprung into action.
He had taken a first aid course with St. John Ambulance in 1999, was familiar with the signs of an opioid overdose, and decided to administer rescue breathing. He laid her on the ground, tilted her head back to open her airway and began breathing into her mouth.
“During an opioid overdose, your heart still breathes but your mind just doesn’t tell your respiratory system to work,” said the 40-year-old.
“I knew she would be okay because her heart was beating. I just wanted to keep her brain oxygenated.”
Raymond continued to breathe into the woman’s mouth until ambulances arrived.
The whole process was eight minutes long, but one Raymond will remember for the rest of his life.
“It’s the only time I’ve had to use it (first aid training) in 16 years. I’m glad I know it. It’s something I can carry around with me,” Raymond said, adding most people should take a first aid course in their life. “It just goes to show you don’t need a badge and a gun to save a life.”
Raymond was one of 11 police members and civilians to be honoured by St. John Ambulance last week as part of the life-saving awards program that acknowledges individuals or groups of individuals who have administered first aid while saving or attempting to save a life.
Const. Paul Brailey, with the Central Saanich Police Department, was part of a group of individuals honoured for helping to administer CPR after he was dispatched to an incident where a vehicle crashed into a fence near Centennial Park on Wallace Drive on July 23 of last year.
After arriving on scene, Brailey, along with constables Kyle Sims and Chad Vincent, moved the woman onto the ground and continued CPR. The defibrillator was used to shock her twice, which got her heart rhythm back and shortly after the ambulance arrived.
“We’ve all been doing this job quite a few years so your training just kicks in and you know what to do. With the right equipment and the training, it just comes naturally,” Brailey said, adding that was the first time he had used a defibrillator.
“I think the general public should be trained up in CPR. These defibrillators are all in public places now. Most people are scared because they haven’t got the training. The training is really important.”
Ross Nicholls, a staff officer with the local St. John brigade, said it’s important to recognize individuals because it reinforces the value of first aid training that could be useful in any situation.
This year’s winners also include constables Matt Rutherford, Gord Magee, Kyle Roy, Dave Dobbyn, Staff-sgt. Conor King, Cpl. Troy Adam Windibank with the Royal Canadian Armed Forces, and civilian Dr. Ian Bekker.
St. John Ambulance is a not-for-profit organization that has offered first aid training and volunteer community services in Victoria since 1911.