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COMMUNITY FIRST RESPONDERS: Alstonville resident Greg Apps and his wife Robyn had a heartfelt catch up with the private citizens, paramedics and community first Responders from Fire & Rescue who saved his life after he suffered a cardiac arrest on December 22, 2020. Photo: Alison Paterson
COMMUNITY FIRST RESPONDERS: Alstonville resident Greg Apps and his wife Robyn had a heartfelt catch up with the private citizens, paramedics and community first Responders from Fire & Rescue who saved his life after he suffered a cardiac arrest on December 22, 2020. Photo: Alison Paterson

'How do you thank people who saved your husband's life?'

They broke 12 of his ribs giving CPR and administered eight shocks with a defibrillator but for Alstonville resident Greg Apps, the people who saved his life are angels.

It was three days before Christmas in 2020, when Mr Apps, while shopping with his wife Robyn, suffered a sudden cardiac arrest in a shop in Alstonville's busy main street.

Local butcher Ashley Thomson was first on the scene when he ran out of his shop and immediately commenced CPR, using skills developed when he worked as a lifeguard.

"I heard a rib crack," he said.

"But it was more important to keep going."

Moments later Elders staff member and Fire and Rescue Community First Responder, Krysti MacRae, arrived and took over CPR.

"I think I broke three ribs," she said.

"But I thought it's a small price to pay."

Very quickly Ms MacRae's colleagues from Alstonville Fire Brigade were on scene and they had administered several shocks by the time Ambulance NSW paramedic Lachlan Young arrived.

NSW Ambulance Paramedic Trainer Richard Brand said, "only 3 per cent of people who suffer severe heart attacks outside hospitals make a complete recovery."

Mr Apps was keen to meet and thank those who when he needed help came running.

FIRST THERE: Alstonville butcher Ashley Thomson commenced the CPR which saved when Greg Apps after he collapsed with a heart attack in the Main Street three days before Christmas, 2020. Photo: Alison Paterson
FIRST THERE: Alstonville butcher Ashley Thomson commenced the CPR which saved when Greg Apps after he collapsed with a heart attack in the Main Street three days before Christmas, 2020. Photo: Alison Paterson

So there were grins - and the occasional tear - all around on Tuesday March 16, 2021, when Mr Apps and his wife Robyn attended a reunion of the people who helped saved his life at the Alstonville Fire Station.

In the presence of senior Fire and Rescue and Ambulance NSW officers, Mr Apps said how impressed he was that such incredible skills were at hand when he needed them.

"How lucky was I to have a heart attack half a kilometre away from you wonderful Community First Responders," he said.

"Very, very lucky.

"Not than I remember anything about it."

Mrs Apps said she was distraught when her husband collapsed and so thankful for everyone who ran to assist.

"Saving Greg's life was the best Christmas present ever," she said.

"How do you thank people who saved your husband's life?"

 

RIB CRACK: Alstonville resident Greg Apps (far left) laughs along with Paramedic Trainer Richard Brand and Paramedic Lachlan Young, as butcher Ashley Thomson who was first on the scene and F & R Alstonville Community First Responder Krysti MacRae admit they broke some ribs while administering CPR after Mr Apps suffered a cardiac arrest on December 22, 2020. Photo: Alison Paterson
RIB CRACK: Alstonville resident Greg Apps (far left) laughs along with Paramedic Trainer Richard Brand and Paramedic Lachlan Young, as butcher Ashley Thomson who was first on the scene and F & R Alstonville Community First Responder Krysti MacRae admit they broke some ribs while administering CPR after Mr Apps suffered a cardiac arrest on December 22, 2020. Photo: Alison Paterson

NSW Ambulance Paramedic Lachlan Young said he was delighted to catch up with Mr Apps again after treating him last year.

"Two minutes after the second shock he had a return to spontaneous circulation," he said.

"So we loaded him and took him to Lismore Base Hospital.:

Mr Young said catching up with Mr Apps was a real pleasure.

"It's so rare, we rarely get to meet people we have helped," he said.

"This is one really great outcome." 

Station Captain Jason Simpson said for everyone to see Mr Apps restored to good health was sensational.

The firefighters who were involved included Sam Birkwood, Sonya Newman, Ruben Roxburgh, Andrew Collins, Ben Northern and Krysti MacRae.

"It's the best reward," Mr Roxburgh said.

Mr Simpson said they don't often get closure.

"It's wonderful being able to see people recovered after we attend an incident," he said.

"I am very proud of all our Community First Responders here, we are one of 13 fire brigades in NSW whose members hold these qualifications."

PROUD FAMILY: Paramedic Lachlan Young was joined by wife Natalie and daughter Myra when he was reunited with Alstonville resident Greg Apps and his wife Robyn during a heartfelt catch up with the private citizens, paramedics and community first Responders from Fire & Rescue who saved his life after he suffered a cardiac arrest on December 22, 20220. Photo: Alison Paterson
PROUD FAMILY: Paramedic Lachlan Young was joined by wife Natalie and daughter Myra when he was reunited with Alstonville resident Greg Apps and his wife Robyn during a heartfelt catch up with the private citizens, paramedics and community first Responders from Fire & Rescue who saved his life after he suffered a cardiac arrest on December 22, 20220. Photo: Alison Paterson

He also thanked Paramedic Trainer, Richard Brand who helped train the seven firefighters who hold the Community First Responder rating allows them to provide first aid at an advanced level until professional first aid arrives.

"We have 17 retained firefighters here at Alstonville," Mr Simpson said.

"Hopefully we will soon have everyone through the eight day course."



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