Cyclist’s life saved by off-duty emergency service staff

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A cyclist’s life was saved by three off-duty emergency service staff who happened to be passing when he went into cardiac arrest.

It’s thought that the man in his fifties would have been unlikely to have survived by for the intervention and quick reactions of the trio.

Andy Walford, Watch Manager at Botley Fire Station, was driving home through Botley on Winchester Road when he saw a man lying in the grass with a woman stood near him on using her phone.

Andy is also a trainer for Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service’s (HFRS) training Academy and teaches first aid classes to the public outside of work. He fortunately carries a full first aid kit in his car and pulled over to assist.

The man was not breathing and was unresponsive. Andy instantly recognised he was in cardiac arrest. Instructing the woman to request a full response from the 999 call handler, Andy began compression and performing CPR.

As this initial action took place, an off-duty British Transport Police Officer travelling past on his motorbike also stopped to work alongside Andy, providing vital assistance with administering CPR.

While all of this occurred, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service Group Manager Mark Woods was driving home from work in his Service vehicle and noticed what were now several cars stopped in the street.

As he drew alongside, Mark noticed the bike on its side and assumed there had been a road traffic collision and pulled over to see if he could be of assistance.

Recognising his vehicle, Andy called to Mark to get the defibrillator from his car, which all HFRS officers vehicles carry.

Using previous training and following the simple audible instructions, the defibrillator was applied to the casualty. The shock delivered reset the gentleman’s heart into a normal rhythm and he began breathing unaided.

Soon after, colleagues from South Central Ambulance Service (SCAS) arrived and were subsequently joined by the Helicopter Emergency Medical Service team in the Hampshire & Isle of Wight air ambulance. Once fully stabilised, the cyclist was taken to Southampton General Hospital.

Andy Walford, pictured right, said: “I urge everyone to download any mobile app that tells you where you can access the nearest defibrillator.

“Without a defibrillator, he wouldn’t have survived. The first five minutes for someone in cardiac arrest are the most crucial, and the chances of survival without a defibrillator within that vital time is around 11%.

“The public shouldn’t be afraid of using them. Defibrillators are easy to use and explain everything you need to do. The important thing is to stay calm and make sure you dial 999.”

Mark Woods said: “These are simple to use devices that really save lives, and today there is a family somewhere that still has a son, father, husband, or partner thanks to the timely and available deployment of the HFRS issued defibrillator. I recommend installing a defibrillator in your workplace or vehicle if possible.”

“We’re currently living in tough times, but great things are still happening. A man’s life was saved thanks to members of the community who were prepared to step in and help and the availability of a magic yellow box!”

It’s thought that the man in his fifties would have been unlikely to have survived by for the intervention and quick reactions of the trio.

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