How years of Red Cross training helped save a neighbour’s life.

Topics: Ontario, First Aid and CPR
Kirsten Long, Communications Coordinator | September 02, 2020

As a first aid responder at the Highschool where he teaches, Jonathan Fletcher recertifies his emergency first aid and CPR certification every two years. This has become a routine for him as he has been taking training in first aid and CPR for over 30 years.

Jonathan’s passion for first aid began as a teenager when he attended an outdoor education camp during the summer months, going on extended canoe trips. Jonathan enjoyed these trips so much, he decided to pursue a summer job as a canoe trip leader, but in order to do this he had to train to become a certified lifeguard.

Jonathan’s love for the outdoors in combination with his lifeguard training, transferred into his post-secondary education. He attended Lakehead University to study Outdoor Recreation. Following his studies at Lakehead University, he worked as an outdoor education instructor in the Muskoka region, lifeguarding and teaching canoeing, before pursuing teachers college. Even while attending teachers college, Jonathan continued lifeguarding at a YMCA club in St. Catharine’s.

Over the many years of working as a lifeguard and first aid responder, Jonathan has used his training in various situations but has never had to use it in an emergency until this summer when his 71 year-old neighbour Albert collapsed.

Albert was outside working in his yard with his wife Lurdes, when he suddenly felt ill and collapsed. Jonathan’s wife was passing by while on a bike ride with their sons when Lurdes came running into the street looking for help. Jonathan’s wife quickly went home and told him what had happened.

Jonathan proceeded to call 911 while running over to Albert to put his first aid training to use.“I put my ear to his mouth and watched his chest.  I couldn’t detect a heartbeat so I decided to start chest compressions” Jonathan explained as he recalled the event. The 911 operator instructed Jonathan to count the pace of compressions out loud until the paramedics arrived 9 minutes later to take over. For 15 more minutes, paramedics provided CPR and administered 5 shocks with an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) before detecting a heartbeat.

Albert was rushed to the St Catherine’s hospital and later transferred to Hamilton General Hospital where he received surgery to implant a defibrillator. Jonathan’s training in first aid had a significant impact on the outcome of the emergency. As Albert’s Doctor explained, without starting CPR immediately, he may not have survived. “Learn CPR. You could save a life....Years of training, certification and recertification for lifeguarding and first aid at school kicked in.” Jonathan posted to Twitter following the event. In sharing this story, Jonathan hopes he can encourage and inspire others to become trained in CPR.

The Canadian Red Cross is a leading provider of first aid and CPR programs and has been offering training to Canadians for over 50 years. To find information on the various training programs offered and how to register for a course, visit