Off-duty firefighters praised after saving man’s life

Former police officer Martin George has been reunited with the firefighters who saved his life after he fell into cardiac arrest.

Dan Moon and Wayne Challen, who are both on-call firefighters at Midhurst Fire Station, had met up with Martin for a game of golf when he stopped breathing on the morning of 4 November last year.

Dan and Wayne immediately called an ambulance and began carrying out CPR as well as using the defibrillator at Cowdray Park Golf Club.

Martin was then flown to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Portsmouth where he received surgery.

Reflecting on the experience, Martin said: “I cannot thank Dan and Wayne enough for everything they have done for me. The morning of my cardiac arrest I had back pains, which is something I’ve experienced before with a previous injury, and almost didn’t attend the golf day. However, in a strange way I am so glad I did as it meant I was surrounded by people who were trained in first aid and immediate emergency care response which in turn gave me the best chance of survival.

“For every minute it takes for a defibrillator to reach someone and to deliver a shock, their chances of survival are lower, so having a defibrillator on site at Cowdray Park Golf Club was amazing. All the staff on site are also first aid trained and available to help should a similar experience happen to anyone else. I would like to extend my thanks to Cowdray Park Golf Club for these measures they have in place and for their willingness to teach their staff and help those who may experience a cardiac arrest.

“The chances of surviving a cardiac arrest are very low, so it’s really important that people are educated and trained in CPR so that they can step in and potentially save someone’s life should they ever need to.”

Now fully recovered, Martin visited Midhurst Fire Station alongside West Sussex Fire & Rescue Service’s Assistant Chief Fire Officer, Peter Rickard, to congratulate the pair and thank them for their actions. Peter said: “Firefighters expect to use their first aid training when in work and attending emergency incidents, but applying those skills to a situation out of work can be daunting when it’s the last thing you expect to do that day.

“I feel extremely proud that both Wayne and Dan felt confident enough to put their first aid training to use in this environment, and their immediate actions were vital to saving their friends’ life.

“It is really important that people are familiar with how to carry out CPR and use defibrillators. Several of our fire stations in locations with the highest footfall have defibrillators fitted on the outside of the buildings, and our fire engines carry them too.”