by Tom Scoon

I was sound asleep at 1:30 a.m. when I awoke to a big thud and then a crash of a painting falling of the wall. I immediately thought that there may be a bear in the cottage. I picked up my big flashlight by my bed and got up to see what was going on.

To my shock, Pamela was unconscious and face down on the floor. I immediately tried to wake her, and she slowly regained a semi-consciousness state. She said she was ok, but she wasn’t. I checked her pulse, observed her colour, and looked for perspiration, fearing heart issues. She seemed to be slowly recovering so she went back to bed. I stayed up listening to and watching her.

The next morning Pamela felt nauseous and lost consciousness again…out cold. In my moments of abject fear and ignorance, I decided to call 911. The chap who received my call was cool, calm, and collected. I was not.

The 911 dispatcher walked me through a list of things to check such as pulse, breathing, alertness, and so on. He asked my municipal address which I did not remember and asked me to confirm my GPS Coordinates which he had through pinging my phone. I have an Apple Watch, which provides the GPS coordinates, so I was able to confirm. He then asked whether there were any other physical features I could give him that might help. “Yes”, I said, “a 35’ white flagpole with the Canadian flag and the PaBIA burgee.” He said that help was on its way. He was right. He dispatched volunteer help from Bayfield Nares Inlet led by Rob LeBlond and Dennis Scales and a helicopter from Parry Sound. The paramedics took over calmly and competently. We got Pamela down our stone steps to the dock where the Bayfield Nares gang loaded her onto a pontoon boat which took her out to the point where the chopper had set down in a very tight space. Talk about impressive!

The chopper took Pamela to the Parry Sound Hospital where she was treated immediately…the doctors told me that it was good that I called for help!

I wasn’t watching the clock during this ordeal, but I think it was around one hour from the time I called 911 to Pamela being at the hospital…wow!

Tests and more tests followed including a CT scan trying to rule out serious underlying conditions which they thankfully did.

They kept her overnight for observation and, with the advice and gentle encouragement, we came back to our cottage.

So, what lessons have we learned?

For medical emergencies, dial 911 and the operator will coordinate the response.

The Britt Canadian Coast Guard is more local and works with 911 emergency services to transport patients to the PaB mainland to meet the EMS responders. This can be a big-time saver at night and in bad weather when transporting patients from remote water locations can be very challenging. 

1.   Be able to share with 911 or CCG what you observe about the person having the medical emergency

o  Pulse, colour, alertness, nausea, perspiration

  • Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking, or difficulty understanding speech.
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance, or lack of coordination.

2.   Know your ToA address (green sign on your dock)

3.   When asked for your location, give them both your w3w1 and GPS

  • Learn your w3w (1what 3 words” is a unique combination of 3 words given to every 3 metre square (10 ft Sq) area globally by a UK company and GPS by clicking on this link; fill in the address field as Pointe au Baril and your w3w and GPS coordinates will come up. 
  • Please UPDATE (if you still have one) your 15 year OLD Emergency sticker for the most up-to-date ToA property address AND GPS coordinates as found on the link above. The phone numbers need to change as well…for both MP 647-545-9283 and Britt CCG 800-267-7270.
  • Write them down on the PaBIA sticker and in your phone for safekeeping.

4.   Be able to give distinctive markings at your location (# docks, flagpole with what types of flags, near a location such as Ojibway, Range Light, Poplar Island, etc.)

5.   Know your neighbours and have their contact numbers already in your phone’s contact list. Perhaps set up special group lists to text simultaneously: “PaB Medical Emergency Group” for medical issues

6.   Establish and review your own plan of action (find your Emergency Card provided on the back flap of your 2018 yearbook) in case of emergency.

  • Note page 11 in the 2022 Yearbook – a list of all the phone numbers that might be needed.
  • Write it down on your Emergency Card and
  • Consider your location, time of day or night, equipment needed to carry someone down the rocks
  • Discuss it with your family
  • Discuss it with your neighbours.

If questioning whether to call or not, better to be ‘more safe than sorry’!

West Parry Sound Hospital
Bayfield Nares Response Team led by Rob LeBlond 
The chopper crew
Our neighbours
Our Pointe Au Baril…what a special place and community