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Armed Forces Covenant

Quick Intervention By Off Duty Firefighter Helps Save Heart Attack Victim


On Thursday 27 April 2017, off duty On-Call Watch Manager Karl Dumelow rushed to collect the defibrillator from Wirksworth Fire Station to assist a friend who had collapsed from a heart attack.  

At approximately 14.15 hours on the 27 April, Karl received a telephone call from his wife who was bowling at Wirksworth Bowling Green.  Karl’s wife Julie informed him that a friend, Dave Anderson, had collapsed on the bowling green from a suspected heart attack. 

Karl, who is self-employed running a piano repair and tuning business, as well as being an On-Call Firefighter at Wirksworth Fire Station, was tuning a piano at an address about three quarters of a mile away from the incident when he received the call from his wife.  Karl immediately knew that the defibrillator on the fire engine at Wirksworth Station would give his friend the best possible chance of survival and recovery, so called another On-Call Firefighter colleague, Will Dalton, asking him to meet him at the station to assist him with the incident.

Speaking following the incident, Karl said: “As Will and I arrived with the defibrillator, CPR was already being administered by some of Dave’s bowling friends. 

“Initially it was a shock seeing Dave, my friend of 25 years lying on the floor and I really thought we were too late and he was dead, but Will and I took over from the CPR group and got to work with the defibrillator, maintaining chest compressions until the air and land ambulances arrived.

“Within minutes of using the defibrillator, Dave was breathing for himself and taken by air ambulance to the Royal Derby Hospital.”

Karl went onto to say: “As a Firefighter you never know what emergency situations you may be faced with, so the training we undertake is vital in giving us both the skills and confidence needed to deal with many varied emergency situations.  Will and I had never used a defibrillator before, but we both felt confident using the defibrillator thanks to that training.”

Since his stint in hospital, including intensive care, Dave is now home having had a blood clot removed and two stents fitted.  When asked how he was doing, during a telephone call between Karl and Dave, Dave jokingly said: “Tell them down at the bowling club I won’t be playing any matches for a few weeks.”

Defibrillators are fitted at various locations across Derbyshire.  Advice to anyone wanting to use one in an emergency is to call 999 and call handlers will advise where these are fitted. 

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