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Local Resident Recognized For Rescue

Skills learned volunteering with LBFR help save a life

Laurence Cheng, BC Ambulance Unit Chief; Matthew Bicknell and Adrian Cameron (LBFR);

Tess, Diane and Jonathan Wreglesworth; Adrian Parkes (Emergency Medical Dispatcher and paramedic);

Pippa Phillips, Catherine Crowther. (paramedic), John Phillips

Long-time Lions Bay resident Jonathan Wreglesworth is the most recent recipient of the BC Emergency Health Services Vital Link Award, presented to citizens who are involved in saving a life through successful cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) efforts.

Wreglesworth was honoured as a result of the quick action he took last July that helped save the life of his mother-in-law, Pippa Phillips.

On July 5, 2022, his father-in-law John Phillips came running upstairs to say his wife Pippa was unconscious in their suite, with no respiration or pulse. Wreglesworth started CPR while other family members called 911.

Wreglesworth first volunteered as a firefighter with Lions Bay Fire Rescue (LBFR) seven years ago, and has participated in many call-outs over that time. While still a volunteer, earlier in the year he'd made the decision to step back from attending calls, but his old training kicked in when needed.

He says the whole time he was focused on performing CPR, he knew LBFR were on their way. "Everything felt very much in slow motion," he adds.

Looking back on that day, he's quick to credit others involved in the rescue.

"I knew LBFR would have the equipment, skills and manpower to help. The three members that attended were Adrian Cameron, Michael Russell and Matthew Bicknell. I am forever grateful for them."

He says the dispatcher stayed on the phone with him, coaching him through the process until LBFR arrived to take over before the paramedics pulled up. Within 45 minutes of having the heart attack, Pippa Phillips was in an operating theatre at St. Paul's Hospital. He notes that because the teams worked together so seamlessly, his mother-in-law got the care she needed, and has fully recovered.

Wreglesworth says that his own volunteer experience with LBFR has deepened his relationship within the community and he remembers his training fondly. "Back when I started, as a homeowner, in order to become an active member of the department, you needed to complete your Emergency Medical Attendant (EMA) certification, along with the Auto Extrication course as well as attending most Wednesday night training sessions."

Though the training is intense, Wreglesworth adds that it was "super fun." He says that as new members' skill and competence grows, their involvement in calls increases. "There are so many skills to learn. I often called it Boy Scouts for adults."

He is quick to note that several LBFR members are highly skilled, and have more advanced training than the EMA. "Some members work for BC Ambulance and volunteer with Lions Bay Fire. Typically on a medical call, the Officer In Charge will assign the member with the highest level of medical training to that role for the call."

Like the LBFR members recently profiled in The Watershed, Wreglesworth talks about both the importance of giving back to the community and supporting new members beginning their careers. He encourages other homeowners who might be considering volunteering with LBFR to take the plunge. "When I was asked to join the department, my daughter was at Lions Bay School. My father, stepmother, mother-in-law and father-in-law were all living in the village, so the idea of “being prepared” was certainly not lost on me. I also really loved contributing to the community and helping out. I've met some great people over the years."

He points to the incredible success rate LBFR has achieved in helping members move into full-time fire rescue careers. "When I started in 2016, my member number was 91. Just recently, I was helping with a batch of ID cards, and saw that the most recent number was 156. That's more than 60 members who have moved through the department in that time. Volunteers of all different ages, coming together with a shared objective of learning, and helping others. It's really amazing."

Wreglesworth says he is grateful every day for his LBFR experience, and for the help they offered his family when it was most needed. And while he's delighted to receive the Vital Link award, he's determined that the other members also receive their due.

"I'm almost 55 years old," he says, laughing. "The best thing I can do for the department is to encourage others to join."

Interested potential volunteers can email for more information.

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Congratulations Jonathan! What truly amazing steps you took at the time of crisis for your mother-in-law. Great job also by the emergency responders! Everyone and everything came together for the best outcome.

Thank you Karen for bring us this fabulous story. We greatly appreciate your continued efforts!

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