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Life-saving CPR street rescue by Byker Firefighters leads to Chief Fire Officers Commendation

On April 10th, the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue Service (TWFRS) firefighters – Watch Manager Scott Clements; Crew Manager Peter Hamil; Firefighters: Paul  Blackett; Rob Brown; Paul Gregson; Lee Forster; Micky Walker and Terry Wilkinson were returning to their home station following an earlier incident, when the crews saw an elderly gentleman collapse outside the post office on Shields Road, Newcastle.

The two crews stopped their engines and immediately rushed to his aid. After a preliminary examination they quickly discovered that Mr Young had no vital signs, so Firefighter Rob Brown began to give him CPR, using a defibrillator. After the second shock Mr Young began to regain consciousness. The crews continued to administer first aid and provide oxygen until paramedics from North East Ambulance Service arrived on scene.  The crews were assisted by an off duty nurse and member of the public who held a salvage sheet around Mr Young to provide him with some privacy whilst crews worked on him.

Once stabilised he was transferred to the RVI and then the Freeman where he was fitted with 5 stents – which will help keep his arteries open and reduce the chance of a further heart attack.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Alan Robson commented:

“Our firefighters are trained to deal with every eventuality. This incident proves that they are always on duty and committed to saving lives wherever, whenever and however those lives are at risk. Their professional skills undoubtedly helped to save Mr Young’s life. They are a credit to our Service and to the communities of Tyne and Wear whom they are proud to serve. This incident also confirms that for Mr Young – if he was ever going to have such an episode – he was in the right place at the right time. Not only were our firefighters on-hand, paramedics also arrived on scene very quickly, with a doctor, and had the specialist skills to be able to respond to Mr Young’s condition. We are delighted he has been able to join us today.”

As first responders to many emergencies from fires, water rescues and road traffic collisions, firefighters are trained to deal with a range of medical conditions, providing effective treatment until they are able to hand over to paramedics or other medically trained professionals.

Sunderland-born Alan Young, who lives in Houghton le Spring, who was keen to be reunited with the Byker Blue Watch in order to thank them, commented:

“I felt very lucky that the firefighters just happened to be passing by when I collapsed. I understand that this is the first time they had used a defibrillator on a live person. Every day I wake up is a bonus thanks to the actions of crews, and the medical help I subsequently received from the paramedics and doctors.”