Firefighter helps save Crawley footballer’s life

Michael Gaunt
Michael Gaunt

A firefighter helped save a Crawley football player’s life after he suffered a cardiac arrest during a game.

The Stones FC player collapsed during a home game against Forest Row FC on Saturday (January 31).

A spokesman for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (WSFRS) said the Forest Row FC player, Michael Gaunt, 25, a retained firefighter, gave him CPR for 25 minutes before paramedics arrived.

The man, who was in his 20s, was taken to intensive care by ambulance.

The spokesman said he is now making a steady recovery in hospital.

Michael said: “Although we didn’t immediately know what had happened as soon as I saw him I knew that he needed urgent assistance. That’s when my fire service training kicked into action.”

The East Grinstead firefighter is to receive a special commendation from WSFRS.

Assistant Chief Fire Officer for West Sussex, Gavin Watts, said: “We’re extremely proud of Michael. It’s clear that his calm and decisive actions made a vital life-saving difference before paramedics arrived at the scene. All our firefighters, both wholetime and retained, are trained in first aid and often provide support to the ambulance service at fire and rescue incidents.

“As a Service we’re always keen to pass on basic life-saving skills to the communities we serve. We currently run British Heart Foundation ‘HeartStart’ courses at a number of our county fire stations training members of the public and local businesses in basic life-support techniques.”