No need to call emergency response team night Dziekanski died: airport employee

VANCOUVER, B.C. - The man who made the decision not to dispatch Vancouver airport's on-site Emergency Response Services the night Robert Dziekanski died on an airport floor says that call would have depleted resources that could have been needed elsewhere.

VANCOUVER, B.C. - The man who made the decision not to dispatch Vancouver airport's on-site Emergency Response Services the night Robert Dziekanski died on an airport floor says that call would have depleted resources that could have been needed elsewhere.

Robert Ginter worked as the airport's response co-ordinator when Dziekanski died in October 2007 after a confrontation with Mounties in which he was stunned by an RCMP Taser.

On Tuesday, Ginter told an inquiry examining Dziekanski's death that the airport could have been caught flat-footed if ERS was dispatched while virtually the entire security and operations departments were already on-scene.

"It would expose the airport on secondary issues. Our ability to respond to any other issue, whether it be a fire alarm, debris on the runway, any issue that required an operational response, we would not have had anyone to respond to that incident," Ginter said.

Ginter admitted breaking protocol when he disobeyed a standing order that called for ERS to be dispatched in any Code 3, or high priority, medical situation.

Ginter, who now holds the position of airside safety officer at Vancouver International Airport, disobeyed a second standing order when he failed to obtain the automated external defibrillator in response to any Code 3.

He didn't deem the defibrillator necessary because he believed Dziekanski was still conscious.

Despite those missteps, Ginter denied any assertions that he chose not to call ERS because of a disagreement with the team's supervisor just a few hours before.

After a pot hole was discovered on the airport runway earlier in the evening, Ginter asked ERS to repair it.

His request was rebuffed and Ginter admitted he felt "frustrated" that the situation was not being immediately rectified.

ERS eventually agreed to fix the pot hole the following morning when more staff were available.

"(The situation) had absolutely no role or bearing," Ginter said, when asked if he had decided not to call ERS because of the dispute.

He argued that for any incident occurring near the airport's curb, the Richmond Fire Department is just as quick to arrive on-scene as ERS.

"My experience to calls near the curb is that the response time between Richmond Fire and ERS is very, very similar," he said, despite the fact the airport is at the outer limit of the hall's response area while ERS is located on the tarmac.

Ginter gave another reason for not calling ERS when he insisted the situation, which he described as the most violent he's ever seen, was better suited to police.

Ginter called Dziekanski "highly irritated" before he was tasered, contrasting that with the movements of the RCMP, which he characterized as "very calm."

Earlier in the day, an airport security supervisor said Dziekanski's movements moments before he died resembled those of people who lose their breath after choking.

Trevor Enchelmaier said that his first aid experience has allowed him to see people choke to the point where they spasm and kick uncontrollably.

Enchelmaier said he restrained Dziekanski's legs as police officers placed handcuffs on him, and after Dziekanski stopped moving.

He says he didn't know Dziekanski had been stunned with an RCMP Taser when he arrived at the international arrivals lounge and maintained he was only trying to help the man.

 
 
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