Quick thinking and first aid training of employees at UAP, a specialist in locks and hardware based in Whitefield, Manchester, England, saved the life of maintenance man Dirk Charnock. It’s a great example of how to train your employees to be prepared for emergency situations, including having a defibrillator on hand and knowing how to use it.

The 74-year-old from Radcliffe had stayed a few minutes late at work at the request of operations director Wendy Rushton when he collapsed with a cardiac arrest. The UAP team sprung into action, calling an ambulance, putting Charnock, in the recovery position and calling on Julie Greenhalgh and Lyndsey Smyth to help with first aid, as Rushton deployed the company’s emergency defibrillator.

Julie Greenhalgh (left) and Lyndsey Smyth, first aiders at UAP Limited

“I had familiarized myself with the defibrillator when it was first installed, but none of us have ever used it. Everything happened so quickly that we just worked together to help Dirk and, as soon as I connected the battery into the defibrillator unit, it gave me very clear instructions on what I needed to do,” Rushton explained.

Warehouse supervisor Greenhalgh did chest compressions, while sales administrator Smyth gave Charnock, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. The defibrillator gave the team clear instructions when to stand clear so that Charnock,’s heart could be shocked and informed them when his heart had restarted.

The ambulance arrived 20 minutes after chief executive, David Jennings, first raised the alarm, and the paramedics praised the UAP team for saving Charnock’s life with their first aid skills and rapid response.

Charnock is now recovering in North Manchester General Hospital and his wife, Kay, has been into UAP’s offices to thank her husband’s colleagues for saving his life.

“I trained as a nurse before joining UAP and I am one of seven first aiders on site but I never expected to have to use those skills to save someone’s life in the office. Dirk had been scheduled to go home a few minutes earlier and, if he’d left on time and had the cardiac arrest in the car or at home, it’s unlikely he would have pulled through. We are all relieved to know he’s now doing well in hospital,” Smyth said.

UAP installed the defibrillator at the company’s offices a year ago but have never used the device before. The company is now urging other businesses to have a defibrillator available and ensure first aid skills are up to date.

“Without the defibrillator and the swift actions of his colleagues, Dirk would not have made it, which is a very sobering thought for us all. We are very proud of the way the team responded in an emergency and wish Dirk a speedy recovery,” Rushton added.

For more on training employees on safety procedures, read this recent article on the subject.

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