How Terry Schildroth saved his friend's life (photo)Tuesday, June 26, 2012 by: Jordan Allard
As a firefighter, Terry Schildroth is accustomed to risking his own life.
But having another man's life in your hands, now that's an entirely different ballgame.
"I'm used to being part of a team and having a role to play," said Schildroth, who has been a firefighter with the Sault Ste. Marie Fire Services for 25 years.
"Going at it alone was nerve-wracking, to say the least."
On Tuesday afternoon, Schildroth (shown above, middle) was presented with a St. John Ambulance life-saving award by Fire Chief Marcel Provenzano (on right) and Assistant Fire Chief Frank Brescacin (on left) for his actions during a friendly basketball game this spring.
Early in March, a friend of Schildroth's collapsed during a pickup basketball game at the White Pines gymnasium.
Schildroth was enjoying a rest on the bench when his friends called out in panic looking for him.
"I could hear them yelling and then I saw my friend on the ground," said Schildroth. "I ran up to him and after going through my ABCs on him I realized he was unconscious and I began performing CPR."
In first aid terminology, ABC stands for Airway, Breathing and Circulation.
Schildroth explained first you check to see if their airway is blocked - which you can do by tilting their head backwards into a neutral position - and then you look, listen and feel for ventilation or breathing.
After that, you check for circulation by feeling for a pulse by palpating one of several "pulse points" on the body.
Schildroth performed CPR for six minutes - that he said felt like hours - before the paramedics showed up and took his friend to the hospital.
"It was definitely exhausting," said Schildroth. "It stayed with me afterwards, I can remember going out with friends and struggling to keep my hands steady."
While he didn't want to reveal his friend's name or what caused them to fall unconscious, Schildroth did say his friend was released from the hospital a short time afterwards and has since returned to work.
Schildroth offered advice to anyone who should find themselves in a similar circumstance.
"Don't be afraid to help," said Schildroth. "Take a CPR course and stay calm if a situation where your skills are needed ever arises."
Mark Running, a registered First Aid and CPR instructor who runs Mr. CPR in town, said there aren't nearly enough people like Schildroth with training.
"Unfortunately not enough people know CPR," said Running. "A lot of people can't afford to go take a course and therefore are unsure of how to react when something life-threatening happens.
Running said cost of a typical CPR course runs between $100-$140 and it takes 14-16 hours to get certified.
Those interested in taking getting CPR certification can contact Running at 705-945-1589 or one of the many other organizations like the Red Cross, St. John Ambulance and Life Saving Society who also provide training.