By Darren Lum
May 24 2016
A local elementary school teacher and ski patroller was recognized by the Canadian Ski Patrol for saving the life of an elderly man while on vacation in Point Pelee.
Lisa Malott a ski patroller at Sir Sam’s Ski and Ride and Stuart Baker Elementary School teacher for close to 21 years was recognized for her heroic actions by the Canadian Ski Patrol with the John D. Harper Lifesaving Award at a regional conference for the CSP on April 16 in Lindsay.
She was later given the award a mounted certificate and a pin symbolizing her lifesaving actions at the Canadian Ski Patrol Leadership Conference on May 13 at the Delta Ottawa Centre.
The incident is still vivid for the 50-year-old who calls this a first and probably a once-in-a-life experience.
Malott is humble about saving a life and says she’s proud for being part of the patrol but emphasizes how this was a team effort that included many people.
“I’m proud to have been able to have responded confidently with the training that I’ve had. I’m honoured to be part of the patrol and that I’m able to use my skills that I’ve learned” she said. “Again it’s another one of those situations where you [say to yourself] patrolling is a good thing and it’s a good skill to have.”
Last summer she was with her partner Brian Mulholland and her family on a ferry approaching the dock of Pelee Island when a call for help came from a woman. Most of the passengers had gone down below to their vehicles readying to leave the boat when she heard the cries.
“I kind of looked in the vicinity and as I was looking to see where she was then she said ‘Is there a doctor on board?’ And then I went oh that kind of help” she said.
As Malott walked over to the woman two OPP officers who had been going to the island for their work shift also came to the scene to help.
“One of them went down to the man. I went down to the head and we checked for vitals both of us. He said ‘I can’t find a pulse.’ I don’t get one either. He’s not breathing. Let’s start CPR” she said.
As they worked on the man the other officer provided a mask and gloves to Malott and then contacted paramedics.
By this time the ferry’s captain arrived on the scene and arranged for clear passage for the ambulance in the dock parking area.
(The captain had her five-year-old son with her so Malott’s daughter helped with the assistance of a cousin to keep the boy occupied during this situation.) A ship staff member came a little after CPR started and brought the AED which Malott used on the unconscious man. By the second shock the elderly man came to and was moving around.
“At that point the ambulance was just about arriving. They kind of came in and I just told the ambulance attendant what we done and he is breathing and I have a bounding pulse and sort of moved out and they moved in” she said.
Twenty minutes later she noticed a helicopter fly overhead. On the return ferry ride to Kingsville she learned from the captain that the man had survived.
The situation was a reminder that emergencies can happen anywhere and anytime.
The reason she started in the ski patrol was related to feeling a need to help and also that family members are most likely going to require first aid from those that learn it.
“You never know” she said.
There were a few sleepless nights following the incident as she ran through the things she did and what she didn’t do during the first aid. She hasn’t had contact with the man since.
When asked about the idea of being a hero she laughed.
“I just do what I love to do. I love being helpful and I’m interested in being healthy helping people to be healthy. I feel like it was a team effort with the other officers on board and the ferry personnel by bringing the AED that we needed” she said.