Forest Lake Sophomore Taylen Peterson recently helped out in an emergency situation at Northstar Stables in Stacy, Minn.
Peterson was meeting some friends at Northstar to ride their horses when she noticed a woman in a seizure-like state on a picnic table surrounded by several panicked adults. The 16-year-old rushed over to see if she could help.
“She was having odd postures, laying her head back and mumbling,” she said.
Peterson is a member of the young adult ski patrol at Wild Mountain ski area north of Taylors Falls, Minn. Her father Brad started the youth program several years ago. Peterson trained for ten weeks last summer in an outdoor emergency class that included both classroom and practical instruction.
“They taught us how to splint and do CPR,” she said. “All of the basic first aid.”
She took the test required to become a ski patroller last fall and spent the winter getting more practical instruction on the slopes at Wild Mountain.
She’s had some real life experience on the ski hill, and said she the situation at Northstar didn’t intimidate her.
The stable owner and a mom of one of Peterson’s friends were the only adults present. They were on the phone with 911 when Peterson arrived, but couldn’t remain calm in the high stress situation.
“The 911 operator asks for someone to speak calmly on the phone and the owner immediately just passed the phone to me,” she said. “So I started talking with them and letting them know what was happening and helped with what I could using what my training at ski school taught me.”
Peterson laid the woman on the ground to prevent her from falling off the table and began to check her vital signs. The woman’s respirations were slow, so after she made sure no neck injuries had been sustained, Peterson lifted her head to open up her airway. This helped and the woman’s breathing began to normalize, although she was still going in and out of consciousness. A helicopter was initially dispatched to transport the woman, but was called off after her breathing stabilized. Emergency medical personnel arrived in around 15 minutes and transported the woman to the hospital. The emergency medical services and the owner of Northstar were both thankful to have Peterson on the scene.
“The owner kept thanking me and asking me how I knew so much,” she said. “I told her I’m a ski patroller.”
Peterson has yet to speak with the woman or find out exactly what happened to her. She’s glad she was there to help out and said her training allowed her to remain calm during the tense situation.
“With all the training you go through, you’re just so prepared and know what’s going to happen,” she said. “I have the list memorized in my head of what to do step by step.”
Peterson loves helping people out during ski patrol, but said having it sprung on you when you’re not expecting it and being able to react was even more rewarding.
“The adults didn’t really know what to do,” she said. “So it felt really good to be able to help her out.”