Fringe performer's Saskatoon visit takes serious turn, as he stages CPR rescue

When he saw an older man struggling to catch his breath and turning blue in the face, one of the performers for Saskatoon’s Fringe Festival says his CPR training gave him the skills he needed to respond calmly.

Chris Parsons says knowing how to administer CPR is a skill everyone should have

Chris Parsons is a street performer who goes by the stage name Chris Without the Hat. While he was in Saskatoon to perform at the Fringe Festival, he was called on to use his CPR training to help get a man breathing again. (Submitted by Chris Parsons)

When he saw an older man struggling to catch his breath and turning blue in the face, one of the performers at Saskatoon's Fringe Festival says his CPR training gave him the skills he needed to respond calmly.

"I felt focused at the task in hand," said Chris Parsons, crediting St. John Ambulance for that training, which he put into action to get the man breathing again.

"That CPR training course gives you the knowledge on how to take control and what to do."

Parsons is a Winnipeg-based street performer, who goes by the name Chris Without the Hat. He had brought his act of extreme circus stunts to Saskatoon for the Fringe.

And while his act is lighthearted, the situation on Friday afternoon was deadly serious. 

Parsons had been shopping at an antiques store on 33rd Street when he came out and saw a man lying on the ground, with another woman trying to help him up.

Chris Parsons was just shopping at an antique store on 33rd Street West in Saskatoon near The Flag Shop when he saw a man lying on the ground, in need of assistance. (Google Maps)

"I went over to the guy and I asked him if I could help him up, as there was a bench nearby that he could sit on," he said.

The man was at first able to sit up, with Parsons offering him his arm for balance.

"He just kind of gave up and lay back down," he recalled.

A bystander called 911, and after hearing Parsons had CPR training, the 911 operator asked him to start resuscitations.  

"He was blue at this point, but I gave him chest compressions and then noticed he wasn't breathing at all," Parsons said.

He blew air into the man's mouth until the man began breathing, and continued compressions until the ambulance arrived.

I think everybody should get CPR training; I don't think that should even be a question.- Chris Parsons

"When I last saw him, he was with paramedics on a stretcher, being put into an ambulance, breathing," said Parsons. "I assume he's fine."

As an entertainer who is often in front of large crowds, Parsons said he always thought knowing CPR would be a good skill to have, to respond to an emergency. But he believes anyone can benefit from learning how to resuscitate someone else in need.

"I think everybody should get CPR training; I don't think that should even be a question."

While Parsons was able to administer CPR, he said others at the scene were also ready to step up and help. Drivers slowed to ask if the group needed help, while a bystander was the one to call 911 and provided directions for ambulance services, he said.

"The community really did come together here in Saskatoon."