A Guelph man is hoping his idea of Block Parent-like signs that let people know there is someone trained in First Aid in the house will catch on across Canada.
Alex Post got the idea to create the Good Neighbour Medical program about two years ago while studying at university.
“As I was moving around to different places, whenever I got there I would tell my neighbours that I know First Aid and if they ever need help to just knock on my door,” said Post.
The service is not intended to replace existing health care options, stresses Post. People who require medical help are still told to call 911.
“You are always going to call 911 first, if it’s required,” he said.
What Good Neighbour Medical does offer, said Post, is someone nearby who can apply First Aid until Emergency Medical Service can arrive.
“Paramedics are going to be a few minutes away, they are going to get there as fast as they can but we are going to be there in less than a minute,” he said.
After a lot of planning, Post incorporated the company last spring.
“It’s kind of like Block Parents, in that it is supposed to be within your neighbourhood, you have a sign in your window and it just shows that you know First Aid and that someone can come to you if they need help,” said Post.
Like Block Parent, the sign is intended to be taken down when the First Aid-trained member is not at home.
The program requires its members to be First Aid certified, as well as providing a background check and references.
Members receive a sign for their window and customizable business cards.
Post said hanging the sign in the window does not oblige a member to assist.
“If someone comes to my door and I don’t know them or I feel uncomfortable or unsafe, I am more than within my legal right to say ‘no, I won’t help you,’” he said.
Some people are also concerned about being liable should the person they are applying First Aid to becomes injured or dies.
Post said Ontario’s Good Samaritan Act provides safeguards for people who choose to help.
“In very simple terms — you have to understand I am not a lawyer — it states if you choose to help someone in a medical emergency, you can not be held liable,” said Post.
Being a good neighbour means being ready to help in an emergency, said Post.
“I believe it is our duty as a human to help someone else in distress — whether we know them or not,” said Post.
He said he has been called on a number of times to provide assistance, including a recent incident in the south end of town in which a cyclist was on the ground in distress.
Post said he assisted as another bystander, who happened to be a nurse, performed CPR.
Using a phone app, Post was able to find that a nearby grocery store had a portable defibrillator and sent another passerby to retrieve it.
Firefighters and EMS arrived, said Post, taking the man to hospital.
Post said police called him some time later to let him know the man was recovering.
“Our thoughts are with his family. We wish him a full recovery,” said Post.
Incidents like that, where competent care is provided until professional first responders can arrive, prove the concept of the Chain of Survival, said Post.
“Our main goal is to get people registered within our first responder program and have them out in our community making a difference and saving lives,” said Post.
This weekend, Post will be attending a booth at Stone Road Mall near H&M.
“We’re really encouraging people to come and see what we are all about, talk to myself and our board and learn about our organization,” said Post.