By Elizabeth Oldfield, Communications Team member ( 

On January 28, 2023, four on-duty CSP patrollers, Rick Lawrence, Sheri Blake, David Foret, and Sean Grainger, were advised of an accident involving a possible unconscious individual at a challenging location at the Canyon Ski Resort outside of Red Deer, Alberta. 

Two patrollers responded to the accident with a toboggan, while others gathered equipment and awaited further instructions. The responding patrollers found an unconscious youth in a position indicating a possible head injury, at the bottom of a steep pitch in a problematic location. The patient was unresponsive, with a slow respiration rate. The first patroller took the lead calling for resources: extra assistance, a trauma pack, additional transportation support and EMS, while the other patroller focused on patient care. 

The patient’s condition deteriorated and a seizure occurred. Breathing and pulse continued to be slow, and a significant injury to the patient’s shoulder was found. Working together, the team efficiently and quickly stabilized him, placed him on the backboard and into the toboggan, while continuing to administer oxygen and monitor vitals. A patroller skied the toboggan down the steep pitch to meet the snowmobile for the ride back to the patrol room. An additional patroller monitored the patient on the ride back. CPR was initiated on the patient before transferring him to the ambulance. 

Jenn Normore presenting the group from Red Deer Zone with their John D. Harper Lifesaving Awards (l-r) Jenn Normore, Norman Palardy, David Foret, Sheri Blake, Rick Lawrence. Missing is Sean Grainger. (Photo by Gordon Merz)

Due to excellent and early communication of the severity of the incident, EMS activated the STARS air ambulance to fly the patient directly to a major hospital. The ambulance attendants further stabilized the patient and transferred him to the STARS helicopter.  

The patient was transferred to ICU at an Edmonton hospital for an extended period, before starting the long road to recovery at a rehabilitation center. The youth is progressing well and working hard on his recovery.  

The efficiency and speed of the patrollers as the first link in advanced life support played a key role in enabling his survival. Each member of the team knew their roles and undertook their necessary tasks. They communicated well, allowing for rapid first aid treatment and secure and effective transport. Additional information is available in a report on the rdnewsNOW website. 

For their quick and effective actions, the CSP was honoured to present the John D. Harper Life Saving Award to Rick Lawrence, Sheri Blake, David Foret, Sean Grainger, Norman Palardy, and Canyon Ski Resort staff patroller Jenny Peterson. 

John D. Harper Life Saving Award – Red Deer Zone patrollers – Rick Lawrence, Sheri Blake, David Foret, Sean Grainger (Red Deer Zone)

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