Saluting local heroes 

Maree and Greg Johnston.    

Fire service volunteers and ambulance staff are “amazing”, say Cambridge friends Carolyn Wallis and Matt Johnston.

Carolyn and Matt witnessed first responders in action on February 7 after Matt’s father Greg suffered a cardiac arrest at his Cambridge home (see story page 10).

They got to Greg’s house before first responders did and helped to save his life by doing CPR.

Seeing four volunteer firefighters arriving was “like a guiding light coming through the door”, Carolyn said.

“They just cut his t-shirt open and they were so strong; they just got him either side and they just pulled him into the middle of the floor.  And then about six paramedics came in and got drips and lines into him and hooked him up to the monitor.”

She wants to give a particular “shout out” to the volunteer firefighters.

“It was 10 past six at night, all those men would’ve just been sitting down to dinner with their families, and they’ve clicked into going to a situation like that and they were so professional and so supportive of the situation,” she said.

“They had Greg in the right place for the ambulance people to do their job, they did great CPR, they read the situation that they needed a gurney (stretcher).  For non-professionals in that situation and being volunteers, they were just amazing.  And I don’t know how many people in the community realise that our volunteer firemen do that.  Some firemen go to medical emergency calls and it’s a lot to be recognised, to be honest.

“I said to them, after it was all finished, you guys are awesome.”

Matt said he couldn’t thank Carolyn and the first responders enough for their help.

“We were talking about it afterwards that – especially for the volunteer guys – it must be a very strange feeling to get a call and you might be having tea or doing whatever you’re doing, you go in, you do CPR on someone for 20 minutes and then you go home and you go back to your normal life,” he said.

“It’s quite a strange thing to think about for someone that doesn’t have to do that.  It’s pretty unreal.

“I guess I kind of knew the fire services did a bit of CPR stuff but your first reaction to a siren is oh, it’s probably a car accident somewhere, but they do so many other things just to help their community.  It’s awesome.”

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