A Good Samaritan in BC is being praised after he rescued and resuscitated a man after he got trapped in a clothing donation bin. The incident took place on Monday morning. Thanks to the fast acting local, two people who were trapped in a clothing donation bin have been saved. While this story has a more positive outcome, the issue of people getting stuck and dying in donation bins continues to be a problem throughout Canada.
On the morning of March 18, 2019, Tyler Dempsey, a Vancouver resident, was packing his truck up for work near the Value Village by Victoria Drive when he heard someone yelling for help. When he walked out to the parking lot behind his building, Dempsey told Narcity that he could hear someone in distress but couldn’t see them.
After doing some investigating, Dempsey realized the voice was coming from a man who had been stuck in the donation bin behind Value Village. “He told me another man was pinned down by the lid of the dumpster,” said Dempsey. By the time he arrived, the man was breathing but unconscious.
Fast thinking Dempsey got the individual inside the bin to hold onto the pinned man's body. While he was held, Dempsey used the operating crank to open the lid off the bin. After the lid was up enough to get the men outside, Dempsey said he cradled the individual and brought him to the ground.
By the time he was out and on the ground, Dempsey realized that the man was not breathing anymore. “I immediately started compressions,” said Dempsey. “ I don't know if scared is the right word. I think in that sort of situation your body kinda suppresses your emotions. It takes time for your mind to process what's going on.”
Dempsey called 9-1-1 and an ambulance was immediately on the scene. First responders said that Dempsey did a good job in keeping the man alive until the got there. In fact, Dempsey continued to perform chest compressions until the ambulance had all their equipment set up.
It is believed that the lid fell on the man after he was climbing into it. Dempsey has explained that the man must have hit the release crank while climbing in which caused the lid to collapse onto him. “I had to hold his legs out of the way to operate the crank.”
Dempsey was concerned that there may have been spinal damage to the individual. “I knew if I didn’t get the lid off of him he wasn’t going to make it,” explained Dempsey.
The man is now in the hospital and is in critical condition. Although a hero, Dempsey does not feel like he did anything out of the ordinary. He believes that anyone in this situation would have done the same.
Unfortunately, this is not the first time a scary incident like this has happened. A woman in Toronto was pronounced dead on the scene when she was found partially inside a donation bin. According to Global News, authorities had to cut a part of the metal box made by Rangeview Fabricating to get her out and then perform CPR. This incident came just after a man in West Vancouver died of similar circumstances.
Jeremy Hunka with Vancouver’s Union Gospel Mission (UGM), told Global that vulnerable people get hurt or killed using these bins. He explained that a lot of the time people go into the bins because they are cold and do not have winter clothes. “It’s not a matter of if someone dies next, it’s a matter of when,” said Hunka to Global.
Following the woman’s death, the City of Vancouver said 90% of the more than 100 donations bins throughout the city were removed in July. In order to create a better solution, UGM connected with an engineering professor from UBC Okanagan to work on a new bin design that would prevent people from being trapped.