Flight crew use defibrillator to save Edmonton man at airport

Two airline crew members used a public defibrillator to save a passenger whose heart stopped at Edmonton International Airport on Wednesday.  

The man collapsed around 3:45 p.m. after walking off a plane that had just arrived from Arizona.

WestJet flight attendant Guy Fournier heard an alarm in the U.S. arrivals area and noticed that a woman had opened one of the defibrillators on the wall.

”There was no time to think, “OK, should I do this? Is this right to do?’” Fournier recounted Thursday. “No. We’re trained to do this."

Fournier ran over and determined the man was not breathing. A flight attendant from another airline pulled the defibrillator off the wall and brought it over.

“We administered a shock,” Fournier said. “The follow-up was, we had to do CPR, in between the shocks.”

After Fournier administered two breaths, the man started gasping for air and started to breathe on his own.

Shortly afterwards, EMS and firefighters arrived and everyone was escorted out of the area, leaving Fournier to wonder how the man was doing.

Heather Hamilton, spokeswoman for Edmonton Airports, says the flight attendants’ actions saved the man’s life.

“That person would not have made it without that shock,” she said. ”So definitely a save for our defibrillators.”

Edmonton International Airport has 65 automated external defibrillators or AEDs throughout the terminals.

“We’ve had four saves since 2009, including this one,” said airport Fire Chief Burl Hamn.

Although Fournier and the other crew member are trained in CPR and defibrillator use, the AEDs talk people without any experience through the process.

“The thing tells you what to do,” he said. “Anybody could have used it.”

Fournier describes the experience as surreal, but he was happy to hear that the man and his family are doing well.

“I wish them a Happy Holidays and I wish them all the best,” Fournier said. “I’m so glad that they are doing well.”

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