Firefighters and paramedics praised after man's life is saved in Chichester

The family of a man who suffered a cardiac arrest in Chichester College's car park have praised the firefighters and paramedics who helped save his life.

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said a crew from Chichester were spurred into action on the afternoon of Wednesday, October 2, while on a visit to the college when they saw people trying to help Barry Hill, who had collapsed in the car park.

Firefighter Matt Simmons said 'instinct took over' when he and his colleagues could see members of the public trying to help the man, who is now in a stable condition in hospital.

(Left to right) Simon Rowles with ambulance technician Gary Weller, paramedic Ellie Toombs, Katie Rowles, Carrie Hill, Ben Goodridge,  Daniella Hodge, Matt Simmons and watch commander Suzanne Goff. Photo: West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service

(Left to right) Simon Rowles with ambulance technician Gary Weller, paramedic Ellie Toombs, Katie Rowles, Carrie Hill, Ben Goodridge, Daniella Hodge, Matt Simmons and watch commander Suzanne Goff. Photo: West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service

"We’re all trained in first aid and using a defibrillator," he said. "I just knew we had to get the defibrillator on him as quickly as possible.

“It was a team effort. All four of us in the crew jumped into action.”

The crew from Chichester Fire Station used the defibrillator and commenced CPR until an ambulance crew arrived.

Matt said it was a 'great effort all-round', praising the 'fantastic' ambulance crew.

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The county fire service revealed that the man who suffered the cardiac arrest was the father-in-law of a colleague, connected to the health and safety team, Simon Rowles.

On Thursday (October 10), Simon and his wife Katie, and Katie’s sister Carrie Hill, visited Chichester Fire Station to thank the crew for helping Barry.

South East Coast Ambulance Service (SECAmb) paramedic Ellie Toombs and ambulance technician Gary Weller also dropped in to meet the family.

Simon said: “We are so grateful for the quick actions of the crew and an unknown member of the public.

"The ambulance service told us without their rapid intervention my father-in-law would have only had a 12 per cent chance of survival. They were in the right place at the right time and had the best equipment and training to help.”

Carrie said her dad's life was saved by the 'professionalism and training that kicked in'.

She added: “I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart to the fire service and the paramedics, and everyone else who helped. We can never thank them enough for what they have done.”

Paramedic Ellie Toombs said the incident was a great example of 'the chain of survival'.

She said: "We’re delighted to hear that the patient is doing well and I am certain this is in no small part thanks to the quick-thinking and actions of the fire service crew and their police colleagues who arrived soon after.

"We continued advanced life support at the scene and en-route to hospital. Our thoughts are with the family and we hope the patient is able to return home from hospital soon.”

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