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Swift Action by SERC Apprentice Helps Save a Life
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Swift Action by SERC Apprentice Helps Save a Life

They say every day is a school day, but not many of us expect to dig back to something you covered in third year on a typical day at school.  However, that was the case for SERC apprentice Niall McConnell when he was out on site this week and had to administer CPR.

Niall, (20), from Clogher in Co Tyrone, a Level 2 Construction Plant Apprentice based at SERC’s Lisburn Campus was working on site for employer, Pat O’Donnell & Co (Portadown), distributors of Volvo Construction Equipment, at Kilroot Power Station in Carrickfergus when he helped save the life of a man who had suffered a cardiac arrest at the wheel of a lorry.

Niall said, “I was on site at Kilroot Power Station and was working on a Volvo dumper truck when myself and my workmate, Pearse McMahon, a Fitter, went outside for a break. I saw a lorry roll down the yard and crash into a barrier.   My immediate thought was that someone had left a handbrake off, so I said to Pearse ‘I’m away over to see what had happened’.   When I opened the driver’s door, I saw a man slumped across the seats and just knew that he had had a heart attack.  The gentleman was unconscious, so I shouted to Pearse to come and help me.  I immediately called 999, and raised the alarm with the Workshop Manager who ran to get the defibrillator.”

Niall and Pearse got the gentleman out of the vehicle onto the ground and Niall proceeded to deliver lifesaving CPR which he continued until NI Ambulance Service paramedics and the Air Ambulance arrived 5 minutes later.   Niall continued, “The ambulance crew thanked us for our swift action and said that what we did made the difference between life and death.  Needless to say, we were delighted to see them, and I want to thank them for getting there so quickly.”

He added, “I remember learning about CPR back in Sacred Heart College, Omagh, probably back in 2015 when I was in third year from our PE instructor Mr Turbitt, but I never in my wildest dreams thought I would have to use it. This has been a life changing experience for me and in my view, learning about CPR should be mandatory for everyone - as common as having money or a bank card in your pocket – as you never know when you might need to use it.   I never thought I would use CPR in my life, and it just goes to show what everyone can do if they have some knowledge of what to do in such a situation that I found myself.”

Niall concluded, “I am so relieved that the outcome of that day was a good one.   I am told the gentleman is on the mend and I wish him a speedy recovery.”

Niall’s lecturer Jonathan Miskelly, said, “Niall is a great young man, and we are so proud to have him as an Apprentice at SERC.  His didn’t even mention the incident when he came into College, and it was only through his employer that we heard about it.   His quick thinking and actions, along with those of his work colleague, saved a man’s life which is truly inspirational for all the students and staff at the College and a reminder of how important CPR and First Aid skills are in everyday situations.”

Ciaran O’Callaghan, Branch Manager at Pat O’Donnell & Co said “We are immensely proud of our employees Niall and Pearse for their quick actions.   It is difficult to imagine how any of us might react in such a situation, but the guys did us all proud.   They spotted something was wrong and took the necessary action by calling emergency services and administering CPR until help arrived.”      

Pictured above: Speedy Actions Save Life - SERC apprentice Niall McConnell (left) and colleague Pearse McMahon.

Feeling inspired? Take a few minutes to learn how to do CPR with the British Heart Foundation.

We have a number of defibrillators across all campuses at SERC and to ask all staff  to make themselves aware of locations.

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