Horley firefighter back from special training in South Africa

Neil (third from left) with South African medics
Neil (third from left) with South African medics

A Horley firefighter dealt with multiple shootings while training with frontline medics in South Africa.

Neil Graham provides special rescue support as a member of Horley’s Technical Rescue Unit. The three-week stint will help Neil, a West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (WSFRS) sector medic, provide immediate help to colleagues while on deployment abroad.

He said: “We landed on the Thursday and started work the next day on the busiest night shifts, over Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“When we deploy abroad now every team has to have their own sector medic. We do training over here, but don’t often get a chance to use the skills we have been taught.

“One of the worst incidents we went to was a hammer attack, where an intruder had got in to a family home, but there were also stabbings and shootings, including one incident where it was all hands on deck dealing with two shooting victims in the back of an ambulance at the same time.”

Neil responded to more than 100 calls over the 15 shifts 12-hour he worked with paramedics and two other firefighters and a doctor from the UK.

A WSFRS spokesman said he gained invaluable trauma experience on the trip, which was organised through the Government’s International Search and Rescue.

Neil was one of a WSFRS team which was deployed to Nepal after the country was devastated by earthquakes earlier this year.

He is one of two trained sector medics within the Technical Rescue Unit and will alternate international deployments with his colleague Peter Thorp-Hincks.

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