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This Coquitlam teen saved her father's life thanks to CPR training

Abbey Allen was awarded, what Coquitlam firefighters call, a "rare honour" for selflessly jumping into action when her father went unconscious.
Abbey Allen (right), 18, was awarded Coquitlam Fire/Rescue's Civilian Citation Award for saving her father's life in January 2022, using hr CPR training to help retain consciousness until first responders arrived.

Abbey Allen's father, Chris, lost his heartbeat and went unconscious on Jan. 18, 2022.

The then 17-year-old teen, also a certified Coquitlam lifeguard, immediately jumped to his aid and began using her CPR training to try and revive him while first responders were on the way.

In the end, after paramedics took over, Allen's father was able to regain consciousness and with no complications with his heart resulting from the incident.

Coquitlam Fire Chief Jim Ogloff said Allen's actions helped save Chris' life.

The local department recognized the Dr. Charles Best Secondary 2022 grad's quick-thinking by bestowing a "rare honour" known as a Civilian Citation.

It's only granted to local residents whose actions directly result in saving a life, or prevent serious injury or property damage.

Ogloff, who signed the award, is grateful for Allen's example of an everyday hero in demonstrating a selfless act of courage.

"Fire and ambulance crews took over, using an automated external defibrillator [AED] twice on Allen's father and restoring his heartbeat," he said in a statement about the situation that unfolded. 

"Ultimately, Allen's father survived with no deficits whatsoever, due in large part to Abbey's quick response and lifesaving actions, performed in incredibly trying conditions."

Ogloff added Coquitlam Fire/Rescue's decision to honour Allen was unanimous. The department reviews nominations every January.

Allen received her certificate on May 13 during Coquitlam firefighters' formal awards ceremony, which included an honour guard, crew, elected officials and family on hand.

Her CPR knowledge came from her training as a lifeguard in the community.

She's earned both Bronze Cross and Medallion certification, meaning she has achieved accomplishments in basic and advanced water rescues, first aid, resuscitation techniques and aquatic leadership skills.

"And her father taught lifeguarding courses in the city which also helped to save many lives. Good work, Abbey," wrote one reply to the City of Coquitlam's social post about Allen.

"So proud of Abbey and beyond relieved to know that Chris is alive today because of her training as a lifeguard. One of the loveliest family’s that I know," said another.

"What a hero," one poster proclaimed.

Start 'em young

Ogloff is hoping Allen's story can encourage more residents to be trained in CPR.

This especially includes young people as situations may present themselves where medical assistance is needed before emergency professionals arrive, and could directly help prevent injury or death.

In 2022, Coquitlam Fire/Rescue launched a program that's taught basic CPR to more than 100 high school students at Centennial, Gleneagle and Pinetree secondaries.

"Coquitlam Fire/Rescue intends to gradually build the program over time, making it available to Coquitlam PE teachers as an annual or semi-annual block," Ogloff added.

For more information, you can visit Fire/Rescue's page of the City of Coquitlam's website.