A Christmas story : why everyone should learn hands only CPR…

In our blog this week, we have something a little bit different, inspired by a remarkable story involving our security engineer David Pearce, which involved him bringing a bus driver back to life not once, but twice following a school bus crash in late November.

David has asked us to share the story, not for any glory but simply because it reveals very powerfully, how important it is for all of us to get first aid training in hands only CPR. This Christmas, thanks to his training and that of others at the accident scene, one family will be spending Christmas together, instead of mourning the loss of a loved one.

“Before I worked at Waldon Security I had done some first aid training on a voluntary basis with St John’s Ambulance, where I became an emergency first responder, and later with the London Ambulance Service,”

explains David

I have had to use CPR in the past, so I had experience, and I was incredibly grateful for that fact when I witnessed the bus crash near Tregony in late November.

I was driving two cars behind the bus when it seemed to go off the road at a 45 degree angle and as I rounded the bend I saw the bus had crashed into a wall.

I pulled over and got on via the back door where there was an emergency exit. At that point I realised that there were school children on board.

Along with others who had stopped, we got the children off the bus and marshalled to safety. Two had minor injuries, but thankfully none of the kids had been seriously injured.

I then went forward to find the driver, calling out to ask if he was OK, and that is when I found him. He had fallen down the steps of the bus. I checked for a response and a pulse and found nothing. His heart had stopped and he was not breathing.

Luckily, as well as myself, two trained fire-fighters were on the scene and they also came on to the bus. We couldn’t get out via the door, so we pulled him into the gangway between the seats. Then, while one of them gave the driver mouth to mouth resuscitation, the other firefighter and myself gave the driver hands only CPR. It’s usual practise if more than one trained responder is at the scene to take turns doing a few rounds of this as it requires a lot of exertion.

We succeeded in bringing him back once, briefly, but then we lost him again. Meanwhile others on the scene had called 999 and required all services: police, ambulance and air support to help. One of the firefighters also went off to try to find a defibrillator.

The first paramedic arrived and asked us to continue what we were doing as he helped the patient. Another paramedic arrived and we all continued to work with the patient and this brought the patient back again. The air ambulance then arrived and he was airlifted to the Royal Cornwall Hospital.

To be completely honest, I didn’t have much hope for the driver’s chances of survival. He was technically dead when I found him and even though we brought him back twice, I couldn’t help wondering if we were going to be able to save him despite our best efforts.

But modern medicine is an amazing thing, and he survived the journey hospital, all-be-it in critical condition. I then heard from the man’s daughter a few days later. She wrote to me to thank me for saving her dad’s life. I’m delighted to say that he is now out of hospital and slowly recovering.

I recently got to meet him and his daughter, and that was certainly a very emotional moment for everyone! Now he has invited me and the others who helped him that day and his friends to celebrate what is quite frankly a miraculous survival with a drink or two when he is feeling well enough.

It’s certainly a wonderful story, but for me the most important message is to share with others how important it is for everyone to get CPR and first aid training and to be prepared in case they happen to be the first on a scene like this.

“I’m delighted that my boss Nigel at Waldon Security is arranging for us to have training in CPR for the staff at work, as I am a qualified teacher / trainer in first aid and lucky to have all the equipment to deliver a training session. I’d say to anyone, make time to do this. It’s so humbling to think that this man will be with his family this Christmas, and I’m so grateful that I had the training to be able to help.”

If you are interested in CPR training, you can find out more at these links:

St John’s Ambulance

British Heart Foundation


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Telephone: 01726 65636 Email: security@waldons.co.uk