Last June, Meghan Thompson and her two daughters, aged eight and 11, were enjoying a day at the beach at Manitou Park in Naramata. The girls were playing in the water when they suddenly noticed a small body floating face down. The oldest girl, Kennedy Lanteigne went running to the shore yelling, “Mom, I think that baby needs help!”
Thompson ran as fast as she could to the shore, into waist-deep water and picked the limp, waterlogged body out of the water. It was an 18-month-old boy whose face was a pale white and his lips were blue. She turned to run back to shore screaming as loud as she could for help.
Chad Taylor, a Penticton fire captain and first aid instructor, happened to be nearby and came running to assist. Meghan passed the boy to him and he laid him down on the sand.
Immediately Taylor looked for a pulse and breathing but found neither. He began CPR. A bystander had called 911 while Meghan was yelling to try to locate the child’s mother who eventually came frantically running toward them.
Fortunately, the CPR Taylor performed was able to bring the boy back to consciousness as he coughed, vomited and began to regain his normal colour. Taylor and Thompson stayed with the boy and his mother until emergency services arrived to rush the boy to hospital where he made a full recovery.
Thompson later commented that she hopes this incident serves as a reminder to parents to be vigilant with their kids, educate them about water safety and maybe take some first aid and CPR training, just as she did with a few friends after the incident.
“You don’t ever think that kid could be your kid,” she said.
For saving a young life from drowning that day, the BC Lifesaving Society presented silver medals for bravery to Chad Taylor and Meghan Thompson and her daughter Kennedy on Saturday, May 15.
They have seen the rescued child a few times in passing, out for walks with his parents and he seems to be doing well, she said.
“Quite amazing considering how close of a call it was,” Thompson said.
Penticton fire department also commended everyone’s actions, including their own fire captain.
“As firefighters, we are never off duty and it showed. Early and effective CPR was key to saving this life. As summertime starts we want to remind everyone to wear your PFD when in the water and for the younger ones to wear a life jacket when they are playing near the water,” said Penticton fire chief Larry Watkinson.
Each year the Lifesaving Society hosts this award ceremony as an opportunity to celebrate the heroism and bravery of rescuers in B.C. and Yukon. This year 15 awards were handed out.
The Lifesaving Society is a not-for-profit organization whose mandate is to reduce water-related death and injury. The Society has been educating the public and training lifesavers and lifeguards in B.C. since 1911.
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