Qualicum power line technicians rush to help choking man

Image of BC Hydro power line technicians Chris McClinton and Shawn Quast
BC Hydro power line technicians Chris McClinton and Shawn Quast leaned on their first aid skills to come to the aid of a man choking at a Parksville lunch spot in November.

PLT uses abdominal thrusts to help man regain regular breathing

BC Hydro power line technicians Chris McClinton and Shawn Quast were taking a lunch break at Samurai Sushi in Parksville when a young man across from them stood up with panic in his eyes.

It was clear to McClinton and Quast that this man was choking.

"We stood up and told the kid he would be okay, and to try and cough it out," Quast recalls of the incident last November.

"He shook his head 'No.' I proceeded to give him an abdominal thrust quite hard and it must have moved something. It sounded like he managed to get three gulps of air."

Then the two BC Hydro workers heard a strange gurgling noise coming from the man's chest area.

"We told him to try and work it out. He shook his head again, looking scared," Quast continued. "I gave him another thrust.

Still, it seemed like he couldn't breathe.

"About 20 seconds later, after no action, I set up to give him another thrust, but he blocked my hands. We encouraged him to keep trying to fight it out."

After a couple of minutes, the man seemed to regain regular breathing and went to the washroom. Quast and McClinton followed him to make sure he was okay.

"After he washed up, he told us, 'That really hurt!'" said Quast. "I said the fact that he can talk is a good thing. We left him with his friends to watch over him as we sat back down."

Once the two BC Hydro power line technicians finished their lunch, they checked back in with the young man and told him he should see a doctor for a follow-up.

First aid training is required for all BC Hydro power line technicians. Not only is it vital training for the workplace, it's also an invaluable tool outside of work.