911 dispatcher Natalie Rumsby sits at her desk in Victoria where on April 24 she answered a call from Carol Klock, whose husband Jack had a heart attack while in the shower. Rumsby coached Carol in CPR and Jack survived. SUBMITTED PHOTO

B.C. 911 call-taker gets rare glimpse of what happened after call

Call-taker coached Port Alberni woman in lifesaving CPR on her husband

When Natalie Rumsby answers a call as a 911 dispatcher, her job ends when first responders arrive on the scene, and the person who called 911 no longer needs her help.

It’s not often that she and her colleagues at the dispatch centre in Victoria hear the outcome of their calls.

That changed last week when a woman from Port Alberni shared her story about performing CPR on her husband thanks to the coaching of a calm 911 dispatcher.

READ: Vancouver Island wife brings husband back to life with CPR thanks to 911 dispatcher

Carol Klock related her story about calling 911 after her husband Jack suffered a heart attack while taking a shower one night in April.

Carol, who had never taken a CPR course, performed the life-saving technique on her husband for 10 minutes while waiting for paramedics to arrive. She said an anonymous dispatcher “literally taught me CPR over the phone” and she wanted to thank the woman for helping her.

A colleague of Rumsby’s who was familiar with the call read the story from the Alberni Valley News and let Rumsby know about it.

“Everything’s done over the phone and once you’re done, you’re on to the next job,” Rumsby said from Victoria. “It’s heartwarming to hear that he survived.”

She said she doesn’t often open up about her job. She compartmentalizes it, and when she leaves the dispatch centre for the day, she leaves the job behind.

It’s a survival tactic: “Right now, there’s a lot of compassion fatigue. It’s an exhausting job at the best of times,” she said, but added the opioid crisis has made it even tougher for 911 dispatchers and other first responders.

“There’s days here where we could have seven or eight call-takers and they’re all coaching CPR to people in different communities in B.C.

“As a call-taker/dispatcher, you are often tasked with talking to people on the worst day of their lives, in a moment of crisis, and you depend on them to be your ears, eyes and hands until help arrives,” Rumsby said.

“We are trained to help people not only cope with these situations, but in many situations, guide them to give life-saving first aid that they would otherwise not know how to do.”

While Carol Klock gives Rumsby all the credit with helping her stay calm, Rumsby said Carol’s ability to stay composed was the most important aspect of helping her husband.

“This woman performed those skills in the worst of circumstances, ” Rumsby wrote in a Facebook post about the story. “Thanks to her staying calm and composed and doing the most effective CPR possible, her husband is alive today.”

Rumsby hopes stories such as the Klocks will inspire people to learn how to perform CPR.

“I think it’s really important for everyone to take a CPR course, even a hands-only CPR,” she said. “If somebody knows CPR, the second they see someone collapse … it could mean life or death for that patient.”

READ: Where to learn CPR

Rumsby has nominated Carol Klock for a Vital Link Award with BC Ambulance Service, which recognizes the significant contributions made by citizens during medical emergencies. She hopes that if Carol is given an award, she will be able to meet the Klocks in person.

editor@albernivalleynews.com

Just Posted

Living life to the fullest with Alzheimer’s – an Okanagan couple’s story

Stella Adams and Willi Brombach are making their way through the uncharted waters of Alzheimer’s

Summerland’s solar power array on schedule

Solar project nearing public consultation stage

Growth in many ways for Summerland

Looking back on 2018 and looking forward to 2019 with Mayor Toni Boot

Video: New Penticton studio is a playground for creative types

We toured Penticton’s newest creator space

Hang glider pilot rescued from Pincushion Mountain

Pilot was able to help guide rescue crews to her location

B.C. storm totals $37M in insured damages

The December storm wreaked havoc on B.C.’s south coast

Chiasson nets shootout winner as Oilers edge Canucks 3-2

Edmonton moves one point ahead of Vancouver

B.C. chief says they didn’t give up rights for gas pipeline to be built

Hereditary chief: no elected band council or Crown authority has jurisdiction over Wet’suwet’en land

Condo rental bans may be on way out with B.C. empty home tax

Many exemptions to tax, but annual declarations required

UPDATE: B.C. boy, aunt missing for three days

The pair are missing from Kamloops

Daredevil changes game plan to jump broken White Rock pier

Brooke Colby tells council daredevil event would help boost waterfront business

Liberal bows out of byelection after singling out Jagmeet Singh’s race

Karen Wang says she made comments online that referenced Singh’s cultural background

Truck hauling compressed gas for ‘virtual pipeline’ crashes on B.C. highway

Driver charged and highway closed for nine hours - containers did not rupture

Most Read