It’s training night at Lantzville Fire Rescue. A team of First Responders are huddled around a figure wedged into a corner at the bottom of a staircase. Their task – to unfold their patient’s pretzel shaped body onto a stretcher without damaging the spine.
Every now and then, the unconscious pretzel, Capt Ian Lundman, opens an eye and offers a helpful hint. It’s uncomfortable work. But for someone whose mother was a nurse and whose father an R.C.M.P. officer, Deputy Fire Chief, ambulance driver and paramedic, it’s anything but unusual.
“I grew up being the Annie Doll,” Lundman says with a smile, referring to the ubiquitous training manikin used to teach CPR. “When my parents needed someone to practice on, I was always their first choice.”
The transition from lifesaving aid to lifesaver was a natural one for Lundman. By his teens he was a lifeguard at a local Enderby, B.C. pool. At 16 he embarked on his own emergency services career, volunteering with the town’s fire hall and its ambulance station – set up by his father before the arrival of the British Columbia Ambulance Service. Riding in the back of ambulances he amassed countless hours observing paramedics at work and helping out when allowed.
Thanks to a kind word from the Chief of Enderby’s Ambulance Unit, he continued serving as a ride-along in Victoria after moving there for work. But unlike his brother, who serves as a nurse, Lundman eventually elected to work in a non-medical field. He studied water quality technology and now works for the Regional District of Nanaimo monitoring waste water.
“I had dreams of sampling rivers and streams for the Ministry of Environment, but it turned out that being home with my family took precedence,” he says. Now he studies microorganisms in the waste stream to determine the appropriate chemical, biological or mechanical treatment. “Basically everyday I’m looking at poop,” he laughs. “It’s part of the job. If we weren’t doing this the oceans, fish, beaches – the whole ecosystem – would be polluted.”
In 1999, a year after marrying wife Cristi, (a nurse, naturally) Lundman moved to her hometown of Lantzville and joined the Fire Hall. Serving as both a firefighter and the unit’s Medical Officer, he leads a team of ten First Responders providing pre-hospital care to those in distress. First Responders also fill a crucial role once the patient is on the way to hospital, Lundman says.
“We don’t leave with the ambulance,” he says of his team. “We’ll stay behind and do what we can for other family members. As volunteers, that’s an important service we can offer the community. It may not always be needed, but when it is it can make a big difference.”
Making a difference is something Lundman says his four daughters – Katie, Olivia, Annika and youngest, three-year-old Sofia – are already picking up on. “When she sees me head out the door Sofia asks, ‘Daddy, who got hurt today?’ She knows something important is happening. They’re all proud of me. They see the time I give to the community and that has an impact on them.”
Lundman says it’s the same impact that shaped him as a child. “A community has a huge effect on its kids. When I was young the community did its best to help me succeed. I want to set the same example for my kids, so that they learn from it and get involved, so that helping out in the community becomes a lifestyle for them.”