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She’s a part-time custodian at the Georgina Civic Centre, but co-workers and residents in this town on the south-eastern shores of Lake Simcoe have started using words like “hero” and “lifesaver” to describe Sandra Houghton.

Houghton, a member of CUPE 905, was working her usual night shift on Monday, November 16 when the town’s deputy clerk rushed out of a committee of adjustment meeting to ask if she knew how to use the defibrillator, or AED, located on site.

I went into the council chambers and assessed the situation,” said Houghton, who had been trained to use the device just over a year ago.  “Some members of council and of the public were trying to assist a gentleman in distress.”

Houghton opened the AED case and got to work.  By the time York Region paramedics arrived, she had revived the man – and saved his life.

Last night, the Town of Georgina council recognized Houghton’s efforts with a plaque and flowers.

I want to let everybody know, to tell employers, that it is so important to get this training and to have the AED in the workplace or other public sites,” Houghton says. “It would make the world a better place.”

Houghton’s union agrees.

We encourage our members to take this kind of training when it is offered to them,” said Derek Bakshi, president of CUPE 905.  “Public employees are the people who are on site on a regular basis, who know what equipment is available and how to use it.”