Off duty police officers pitch in to save a life

21 October 2020

In June this year off-duty police officers Simon Bowen, Nathan Carbone, Brad Hasson and Dan Whitney were enjoying a Thursday night game of indoor cricket when an emergency unfolded at the Striker Indoor Sports Centre in Leeming. 27-year-old Dane Pepper, a worker at the centre, collapsed during a game.

Simon says it all happened quite quickly “We were in the middle net, while Dane, who we knew of because he worked there, was playing in the net next to us. Nathan and I had just finished batting so we went out of the net to watch the footy for a minute or two and I actually saw Dane tense up, collapse and fall. One of his teammates went over to try to rouse him and he wasn’t moving so they called for help.”

The four men worked as a team to ensure Dane received the help he needed quickly! “It was a bit surreal how it all worked” says Simon, “the four of us didn’t really talk about anything we just acted. It was pretty clear early on he was in a bad way, his breathing was sporadic and he was pale as a ghost and within seconds of us getting there he had stopped breathing so we went straight into CPR. I told someone to grab us the defib so they did that, Brad cleared his airways, Dan and Nathan started on chest compressions while I got the defib ready and somewhere in there I called 000.”

The four men performed several rounds of CPR and shocked Dane four times with the defibrillator in the 15 minutes before paramedics arrived. Brad says it was an intense few minutes! “In my opinion I was blown away that he survived. To see him pull through compared to what he was going through at the time, I actually thought there was no chance! Before we got in there about 12 people were standing around doing nothing, and with all due respect if you haven’t had training you don’t know what to do, so I suppose without question the fact we’d had that training as part of our work made a real difference, because without any medical intervention whatsoever he would have died.”

Dane was taken to hospital and spent three days in an induced coma. He had a pacemaker fitted and within a week was released to go home. Simon says it was amazing to see him up and about! “It happened on a Thursday night and over the weekend some of Dane’s friends got in touch with us to let us know he was still being monitored, but early the next week we went to see him in hospital and he was sitting there like nothing had happened! The best thing for me is the fact that he is still around today!”

Brad says, although the first aid training they do annually as police officers was vital to Dane’s survival, the availability of a defibrillator was the real game changer! “The only times he came to was immediately after a shock from the defib. And I know defibs are worth $2000 but I suppose if you look at what we spend on home insurances and car insurances $2000 is pretty cheap insurance for a life!”

Simon, Brad, Nathan and Dan’s actions highlight police officers' commitment to serve their communities, both on and off duty. The situation also reinforces the importance of first aid training and having first aid equipment available in the community. For their actions the four men recently received Royal Life Saving Gold Medallion Bravery Awards.

If you know someone who’s stepped in to save a life, why not nominate them to be awarded at next year’s Royal Life Saving Bravery Awards event. You can find out more and submit a nomination at the link below.

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