Private security, public benefit

A Chilliwack man is alive today because a security guard on a routine downtown patrol refused to give up helping the stricken man, who had refused a call for an ambulance.

A Chilliwack man is alive today because a security guard on a routine downtown patrol refused to give up helping the stricken man, who had refused a call for an ambulance.

“He was stumbling and falling near Kipp Avenue,” Jodie Crawford, office manager at Griffin Investigation and Security Services, said about the man.

“The guard felt he was in distress, and got off his bike and started helping him,” she said, eventually learning the man had a heart condition, and giving him life-saving CPR when he collapsed on the stairs of his residence.

It’s the kind of beyond-the-call-of-duty service the public will get when the security firm starts patrolling city buildings and parks in May, said Griffin owner Brian Goldstone.

The firm is already under contract with the Downtown Business Improvement Association to provide security in the area.

The public value of the city’s decision to spend $90,000 a year to hire Griffin to patrol municipal property at the same time that local police are complaining about a “lack of resources” was questioned by The Progress last week.

Mayor Gaetz defended the expenditure as an inexpensive way to protect public property – and to hold the line on city taxes.

Crawford said the security guards also free up police officers so they can respond to more serious problems in the city.

“We deal with a lot of stuff the police can’t deal with,” she said, because the police are responding to other matters.

A citizen flagged down security guard Neil Reader at about 4:15 p.m. Saturday after seeing a man fall on Kipp Avenue near Mary Street.

Reader learned the man had a heart condition, and was trying to get to his residence on Patten Street where he kept medication.

But the man refused to let Reader call an ambulance, so the security guard flagged down an RCMP officer in the area to help him get the man to his residence.

But Crawford said the man collapsed on the stairs before he could get to his medication, and Reader and the police officer began CPR.

“He was dead on the stairs, no pulse, no breathing, no nothing,” she said.

Paramedics called by the RCMP officer soon arrived and rushed the man to hospital, where he survived the apparent heart attack.

Reader and RCMP Const. Pierre Boivin were both commended for saving the man’s life.

Crawford said Reader could have simply accepted the man’s refusal to call an ambulance, and continued on with his patrol.

“If he had listened to him, (the man) would have been dead on the sidewalk,” she said.

But Reader had a “gut feeling” about the man’s condition, and persisted in his efforts to help, she said.

rfreeman@theprogress.com