KIMBERLEY KUFAAS PHOTOGRAPHY Firefighter David Grainger received a special silver life saving award from Port Hardy Fire Chief Brent Borg at the Gazette’s Local Hero Awards banquet on May 22.

Port Hardy firefighter honoured for saving a man’s life

“That was when I ascertained the man inside the car was choking on something”

Port Hardy firefighter David Grainger is the definition of a true hero.

While driving down island Grainger made an emergency stop at Robert’s Lake, located just outside of Campbell River, due to the sight of a woman frantically screaming for help on the side of the road.

After pulling over next to her car, he noticed there was a man inside slumped over the steering wheel and his face was blue.

The woman, who was a tourist and did not know how to speak English, was grabbing at her throat “and that was when I ascertained the man inside the car was choking on something,” said Grainger. “I turned him slightly to open his mouth but couldn’t see anything inside, so I grabbed him and pulled him out of the van and leaned him against the side to help brace him as he was not standing on his own power.”

Grainger grabbed the man and gave him the Heimlich maneuver for approximately 10 to 15 seconds, after which the man started to cough.

“He ended up spitting up what looked to be food, so I stopped the Heimlich maneuver and helped him sit down on the ground,” Grainger added.

That was when Grainger said he noticed the colour coming back to the man’s face and he could hear him breathing properly again.

After effectively saving the man’s life, the woman managed to track Grainger down thanks to him being a member of Port Hardy Fire Rescue and she sent off an email to Fire Chief Brent Borg, thanking Grainger for intervening and saving her husband’s life.

Borg and the rest of the fire department were so amazed by Grainger’s quick actions, they knew they had to do something special for him.

And do something special they did, as Borg presented Grainger with a very special medal, the silver life saving award, during the 2019 Local Hero Awards.

“I was quite amazed and overwhelmed by the feat of what he’d done,” said Borg during his speech before he presented Grainger with the award at the banquet that was held at the Port Hardy Fire Hall on May 22. “I think it was incredibly honourable of him… he saved that man’s life and we’re very proud to have him with us as a firefighter.”

Grainger noted it felt “amazing” to receive the award. “To hear the chief, my parents, oldest daughter, firefighters and friends all say they were proud of me was very humbling.”

He added that while his adrenaline was “through the roof” during the entire ordeal, “I would do it again in a second. I love being a firefighter and helping that man go home to his wife and family made me incredibly happy and proud.”


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