A local man was recently recognized in Ottawa after saving the life of his 10-year-old daughter.
Darcy Gunnlaughson found himself in a situation last year no parent ever wants to be in. His daughter came to him with her hands crossed at her throat and unable to make even a whisper for help. The SaskPower mechanic immediately sprung into action to dislodge what was clogging her airway and in just a few seconds it was done.
Gunnlaughson said being able to save the life of his daughter, Emma, was amazing.
"First of all, I was shocked afterwards. I was thinking, 'I can't believe that just happened,'" he said. "It's awesome."
He said after the incident, he started thinking about friends of his who are EMTs, and had bit of a greater appreciation for them as well.
The incident occurred at home when his daughter came running to him from another room.
"My daughter was in the kitchen, and I hear this terrible noise and I've never heard a noise like this before," said Gunnlaughson. "She comes running out into the living room with her hands up at her throat. Her mouth is wide open."
He knew something was amiss and quickly asked her if she was OK.
"Nothing comes out (in response), no little gargle, can't even hear her exhaling. So right then and there I knew she was choking."
He jumped out of his chair, tilted her forward and gave a one-handed slap in the middle of her back, but that didn't work.
"Then I did the one-handed Heimlich manoeuvre for kids, and then out came a double orange segment from one of those mandarin oranges."
Gunnlaughson noted that everything happened very fast, adding that the whole incident took no more than 10 seconds.
"There was no time to panic for either one of us. She was so level headed when she came putting her hands at her throat. I didn't even have time to holler upstairs to my wife or call 911. It's done in a matter of seconds."
He doesn't recall ever telling his children exactly what they should do if they found themselves choking, so the fact that Emma was calm and aware enough to go straight for her father certainly helped. She had taken the Home Alone course and completed a babysitting course, Gunnlaughson said, so she does have some knowledge of first aid as well.
After the incident, he called up the safety officer at work thanking her for the first-aid training he received through his job.
"I said, 'Oh, it's a good thing you sent me for first aid because I actually got to use it last night, and I saved Emma's life,'" he said.
It was that phone call that eventually led to his recognition by the Canadian Electricity Association, receiving the 2012 Lifesaving Award in Ottawa on Oct. 2, during their annual Occupational Health and Safety Awards reception.
Souris-Moose Mountain MP Ed Komarnicki presented the award, and prior to the reception brought Gunnlaughson's story up in the House of Commons.
Gunnlaughson also received the 2011 Lifesaver Award through SaskPower.
He said when he was presented the award, he took Emma up with him and people at the event started to get a little teary-eyed after hearing the story.
He added that following the choking incident, his wife went to get first-aid training on her own.
Gunnlaughson has also wondered if he didn't have the training, or just wasn't at home, what could have been. He encourages everyone to get all the training they can get because it could be useful at any time.