An off-duty South Yorkshire firefighter who helped to save the life of a football fan has been honoured at a special event in Sheffield.
Caz Whiteman, a South Yorkshire Fire & Rescue (SYFR) firefighter currently based on green watch at Rotherham fire station, was in the crowd for the match at Leicester’s Champions League clash against Sevilla at King Power Stadium earlier this year when a fellow spectator collapsed with a suspected heart attack.
Caz, who was sat nearby, immediately rushed to support pitch side first aiders and deliver cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) for more than 15 minutes until he was taken to hospital by ambulance. The man, Jim Blockley, has since made a full recovery.
Caz said at the time: “My seats were just three rows from the front of the pitch and just as the teams were starting to come out for the second half, I noticed that a spectator was in difficulty. I came down to the front of the pitch to see what I could do to help and it became clear he had suffered a heart attack and gone into cardiac arrest. Along with the pitch side medics, I cleared his airway and immediately performed mouth-to-mouth resuscitation and chest compressions.
“This is where the skills I’ve picked up from my day job really came into their own. Firefighters already have the skills and knowledge to provide effective first responder care in emergency situations, particularly at incidents were we may arrive on scene before paramedics. My actions were a natural, instinctive reaction to the situation in front of me. Anyone with the right skills and training would have done the same thing. I’m just so relieved that Jim has made it.”
Area Manager Stewart Nicholson, said: “It’s extremely fitting the Caz’s actions that night have been recognised locally. It was particularly touching to meet Jim and his family and to hear first hand how overwhelmed they were by what Caz had done for him.
“Her brilliant quick thinking and life saving actions really did go above and beyond the call of duty and highlight that, in some ways, a firefighter is never ‘off duty’. The skills and training we give our crews stay with them for life, which this inspiring, life saving story confirms.”
Caz was presented with a certificate and reunited with Jim and his family at the ‘Local Heroes’ event at the St Paul’s Mercure Hotel in Sheffield, which was arranged to recognise the achievements of emergency service workers as well as the contributions of local charity volunteers.