Life-saving Hamiltonians enter pools and burning vehicles

Lorraine Green and Adam Freeman train regularly so they'll be ready if they're called on to save the life of someone at their pool. Recently they had to use their skills.

Paramedic Mike North pulled a woman from a fiery overturned car

Carrie Stonehouse, Lorraine Green and Adam Freeman saved a patron who had a heart attack in the pool. They were honoured Monday with other life savers, including paramedic Mike North, who pulled a woman from a burning vehicle. (Samantha Craggs/CBC)

Lorraine Green and Adam Freeman train regularly so they'll be ready if they're called on to save the life of someone at their pool. Recently they had to use those skills.

The duty guards at the Bennetto Recreation Centre were working Dec. 28 when Green noticed that one of their regular patrons, Ronald Tebbutt, had stopped breathing in the pool.

She jumped in and pulled him to the edge of the pool, and Freeman was there to assist. Tebbutt had suffered a heart attack and did not have a pulse.

With recreation co-ordinator Carrie Stonehouse, they called 911 and performed CPR, using a nearby defibrillator to help save Tebbutt.

Freeman and Green, who had never saved a life before, said the training they'd received for years was worth it. The rescue "was like muscle memory," Freeman said.

"You go to staff training every two months," he said. "You recertify your qualifications every two years, and it's great to finally see it pay off."

Green agreed.

"All the staff training we attend, it's real now."

The trio joined Hamilton paramedics at city hall Monday to receive a life-saving award from the city.

Paramedic David Goveia, who was also honoured by the city, responded to the incident at the pool.

Thanks to the combined response of paramedics and staff at the Hughson Street North recreation centre, "by the time we were rolling out the door, [Tebbutt] was trying to sit up," Goveia said.

Tebbutt received a "rebirth" certificate from the city, and credited the emergency response team in his speech.

"They're well serviced. They're well trained. They're quick. They're alert," he said of the pool staff.

Fiery rescue

Also at the meeting, paramedic Mike North received the Governor General of Canada Certificate of Commendation for pulling a severely injured woman from a burning vehicle.

North was off duty on Dec. 26 when he approached the overturned vehicle and saw a woman halfway out the rear window. Flames were coming from the front wheel well of the driver's side.

North pulled the woman to safety and stabilized her as he waited for emergency services to arrive.

The certificate is one of the highest honours a paramedic can receive, said paramedic chief Brent Browett.

"Paramedic Mike North did everything humanly possible in an effort to save a life, and at great risk to his own life," Browett said in a statement.

Hamilton paramedics "face circumstances every day that are physically and emotionally challenging to protect the health of our citizens."

Also at the meeting, paramedics Blake Mills, Scott Bird and Mark Nelles received a Governor General's Emergency Medical Services Exemplary Service Award.