Ashfield on-call firefighter uses life-saving skills to aid colleague

08/03/2017

An off-duty retained firefighter from Ashfield Fire Station helped save the life of a colleague earlier this month - using CPR skills he was taught during his firefighter training.

Karl Wilcockson, who joined the on-call crew at Ashfield in September 2014, works as a Warehouse Manager for a local logistics firm, in addition to his on-call firefighting duties.

Whilst he was working for the Sutton-based firm three weeks ago (Friday 10 February) he was alerted to the fact a co-worker had collapsed, and was going into cardiac arrest, in the car park.

A medical novice prior to joining Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service (NFRS), upon discovering his colleague, a 28-year-old member of staff, Karl took control of the situation and began to administer CPR immediately whilst an ambulance was called.

"When I first discovered him he had a weak pulse and was in respiratory arrest, before he very quickly went into a full cardiac arrest," said Karl, who had been practising CPR on station with the Ashfield on-call crew only the week before.

"I immediately started to administer CPR treatment while the paramedics were on their way, and even continued the CPR when the first responder arrived so he was able to set his equipment up.

"An ambulance arrived shortly after and I continued to assist until they were able to take him over to Kings Mill Hospital."

In the days following the incident, the individual in hospital in an induced coma, however is now making a good recovery.

"To be honest, prior to joining the Service I had no medical training and wasn't even a first aider," added Karl.

"Fortunately the Service provide such excellent training in such a range of things, giving us all some really great transferrable skills – such as CPR and first aid. As a firefighter you then constantly build up those skills with regular training and exercises, as well as real exposure at incidents."

Following the incident, Ashfield's Station Manager, Richard Hodgson, has praised Karl's life-saving actions.

"Karl is developing into an excellent firefighter and we're all really proud of how he put his training into practise to help save an individual's life," he said.

"As Karl said himself, prior to joining the crew here at Ashfield he had no medical experience and this is a really good example of the benefits, for businesses, that employing retained firefighters can have.

"We provide our staff with a lot of training and a range of skills – many of which are transferrable into other work environments. This is why we urge local businesses to support any of their staff members who may take an interest in joining the fire and rescue service as a retained firefighter."

Anybody interested in following in Karl's footsteps and joining Nottinghamshire Fire and Rescue Service as a retained firefighter should visit www.notts-fire.gov.uk/nfrs-careers or contact their local station. Any business who feels their staff may be interested in joining the Service as retained firefighters should contact Group Manager Damien West on damien.west@notts-fire.gov.uk.

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