District of North Vancouver firefighters saved a man who had a heart attack in front of them on the Grouse Grind trail Sunday afternoon.
Firefighters received notice of a 911 call for a medical emergency about a quarter of the way up the notoriously steep trail around 3:40 p.m. on Sunday, said David Dales, assistant fire chief with the district.
Five or six minutes later, the first fire truck arrived at the bottom of the trail. “They immediately dispatched three firefighters with a full complement of medical gear,” said Dales.
The firefighters sprinted up the trail and met up with Metro Vancouver park rangers who were tending to a man in his 50s for about 10 minutes, said Dales. The man had been complaining of chest pains and nausea. But suddenly things took a dramatic turn as the man went into cardiac arrest in front of the firefighters.
Dales said firefighters began CPR and put a defibrillator on the man’s chest, shocking him twice, which brought back a pulse. After rescuers worked on the man for a few more minutes he began breathing again on his own.
At that point, a second wave of firefighters arrived with two B.C. Ambulance paramedics.
The man was carried down the trail on a stretcher and taken to a specialized hospital unit in the Lower Mainland which deals with cardiac patients.
Dales said the man was “incredibly lucky,” crediting the fast response time of firefighters at the closest, Montroyal Boulevard fire station, who pride themselves on their under-50-minute Grouse Grind time.
Dales said firefighters have since been informed the man is recovering well from his close call.
Dales said the man, who is from Metro Vancouver, was visiting Grouse Mountain with family and had intended to meet them at the top. The man was well prepared for the hike, he said, describing the event as a “very random medical emergency” with a lucky outcome.
The Grouse Grind was the second rescue for firefighters on Sunday afternoon.
Earlier in the day, firefighters had been called to help a young woman who slipped on some rocks and had a significant fall while out with her family in Inter River Park, fracturing her collar bone or shoulder bone. Firefighters used a rope system to hoist the woman to safety and transported her to hospital.