Oak Bay Fire Department Chief Dave Cockle

Heart patient’s widow shows gratitude

Oak Bay woman gives fire department direct help for patient care

Connie Carter feels strongly about the value of Oak Bay firefighters’ first responder efforts.

Her late husband, Al, who was fitted with a pacemaker, received treatment from a fire crew in 2008 after Carter called 911. They helped stabilize his heartbeat at that time with the use of a defibrillator, but a second call some time later was not successful.

Nonetheless, the experience made an impact on Carter.

“What I was impressed with was not only their speed in getting there, but the fact they were so caring and compassionate,” she said. “Oak Bay should be very proud of the work they do.”

During this year’s 75th anniversary celebrations for the fire department, Carter asked what she could do to help out. The topic of defibrillators came up and she was told the department was using three external units that were nearing the end of their serviceable life.

Rather than contribute to the firefighter’s benevolent fund, she decided to donate a new unit to the department.

The new $3,500 defibrillator, which arrived last week along with a training model, offers the latest technology and will improve firefighters’ ability to provide timely treatment, said Chief Dave Cockle.

Not only that, readings taken by the machine can be sent directly to Royal Jubilee Hospital, to give emergency room staff accurate, up-to-date information on the person’s condition.

The donation is greatly appreciated, Cockle said before a crew took Carter for a ride around the neighbourhood in a fire truck. “It’s an expense that the corporation won’t have to put forward,” he said. “We’re always looking for support in these tough financial times.”

As Carter noted, the majority of emergency calls firefighters go out on are medical related.

“People think they’re all sitting around the hall waiting for the fires to happen. They do a lot more than that.”

ddescoteau@vicnews.com