Essex County Fire and Rescue Service


Commendations for life-saving teams

Last month, a special presentation evening was held at Orsett Fire Station to celebrate and recognise the work of our staff, the East of England Ambulance Service and their Helimed crew at an unusual incident.

The incient occured back in February after a member of the public, Brian Abbott, suffered a cardiac arrest in the back of a car and was driven to the fire station forecourt.

Station Manager Marc Diggory said: “Brian had been travelling along the A13 with his friends Steve and Ray when he started to feel unwell and needed to stop driving and sit in the back of the car. His friends made the life-saving decision to turn off the A13 and head to the nearby Orsett Fire Station to get help as Brian’s condition started to deteriorate.

”The on-duty watch was out of the station at the time carrying out fire safety visits, so Ros Heapy, the station cleaner for 20 years, answered the door. What Ros found was like nothing Ros has ever had to deal with in her life – a man had suffered a cardiac arrest and stopped breathing and his distressed friends trying to get help.

Marc added: “Ros immediately raised the alarm and knowing the watch was out of the station, she rushed to a team of paramedics who were on a training course at the fire station and then began to comfort and reassure Brian’s friends.

”The paramedics began to work straightaway to try to save Brian’s life. Thankfully they managed to get him breathing again, but he was critically ill and transferred to Basildon Hospital’s Cardio-Thoracic Unit where three stents were used to unblock his arteries.

Marc concluded: “The teamwork of everyone involved on that day, their immediate and effective response, in conjunction with the rapid arrival of ambulance staff, saved Brian’s life.”

Certificates were presented that evening by the then Chief Fire Officer Adam Eckley to Ros Heapy, our Service’s Breathing Apparatus Instructors – Watch Managers Toby Ingham, Geoff Hills and Simon Tarrent, the East of England Hazardous Area Response (HART) Team and the Ambulance Road Crew, Helimed-55 Crew and Brentwood Station Manager Phil Pidgeon.

Senior Paramedic James Samouelle said: “It was very humbling and an honour to meet Brian and his family and seeing how much our effort meant to them all. It is very satisfying to see the results that can be achieved when teams work well together and the difference we can make. “It was a case of the stars aligning in Brian’s favour that day. From his friend taking him to the fire station, to the HART Team being on site and the level of care and response they gave him, the additional support and care we were able to deliver and the skill and speed of the Cardiac Team at Basildon.”

Brian’s friend Ray said: “From the moment we arrived I witnessed all that is good with the NHS in action. I was amazed by the teamwork and organisation of the emergency services.”

Brian is making a speedy recovery with his rehabilitation, and we wish him well.

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