It didn’t take Sean Menektos long to earn his stripes as Dawson Construction’s new Level 3 First-Aid Attendant.
“I was hoping my first emergency response would have been for a band-aid, not a heart attack,” said Menektos, a Traffic Control Supervisor.
Last Thursday, June 16, Paving Superintendent Denny Johnson was going through the 11-kilometre paving project on Highway 3 near Manning Park with a member of the B.C. Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure when they noticed a tow truck had randomly stopped along the side of the road.
“We pulled over to see what was going on and an older man came out of the truck. He walked towards us and told us that he thought he was having a heart attack,” recalled Johnson. “I told the ministry representative to go drive into cell service, call 9-1-1 and ask for an ambulance. I then radioed Sean to get over here and help me out.”
Within minutes, Menektos raced down to the location in his Emergency Transport Vehicle (ETV) and began to assess the situation. The individual’s self diagnosis appeared accurate, as he was cold and clammy – two major symptoms of a heart attack.
“As soon as I got there, I made sure his truck was shutoff and the parking brake was on. The driver was in and out of consciousness and complaining about chest pain. We gave him oxygen while I checked his vital signs. We knew we couldn’t wait for the ambulance, but we didn’t know what direction it was coming from, either,” said Menektos, who began taking over First-Aid duties earlier this spring.
Johnson and Menektos began radioing any nearby truckers, wanting to find out what direction the ambulance was coming from. Not too long after, they got word that an ambulance was blazing a trail in their direction from Princeton.
What they did next saved the patient’s life.
They decided to go meet the ambulance, instead of sitting tight and letting it get to them. Johnson took the wheel of the ETV while Menektos attended to the tow truck driver.
“It’s one of those things where you do what you have to do in the moment to help someone out. I’m glad we made the decisions we did to help save a life. This isn’t something we normally deal with each day,” said Johnson.
Ten minutes later, Johnson and Menektos met up with the ambulance and passed the patient off to the trained professionals, who then went back into town.
“On behalf of the company, I want to commend Denny Johnson and Sean Menektos for their outstanding efforts and going above and beyond to save this man’s life. They were proactive, made crucial decisions under pressure and used the health and safety skills they have learned and put them into practice,” said Yves Lacasse, President and CEO of Dawson Group. “This individual was in distress and our people never hesitated help. Those actions embody one of our four core values: People First. Without their heroic actions, I am told this gentleman would likely have not survived. Without them, a family would have lost a son, a brother and a father. I am so proud of them. Great work, gentlemen.”
Later that afternoon, Menektos received a call from the owner of the tow truck driver’s company, thanking them for their heroics and mentioned that his driver indeed suffered a major heart attack. By driving to meet the ambulance, they were told that it shaved nearly 30 minutes off the ambulance’s roundtrip. The owner was told that if they didn’t deliver the tow truck driver to the ambulance when they did, the driver wouldn’t have survived.
While Menektos would have loved easing into his added role of first-aid, he handled his Baptism by fire as well as anyone could have hoped for. Accidents are inevitable on the worksite. It didn’t matter whether or not it was a Dawson employee. The world is a safer place with people like Johnson and Menektos willing to help at a moment’s notice.