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Hero off-duty Bolton firefighter saves man’s life with CPR
written by News on the 22nd September 2017 at 0:00

OFF-DUTY firefighter, John Wheeldon, arrived at his local gym this morning (September 22) and within ten minutes of warming up on a cross trainer, he found himself bringing a fellow gym-goer back to life with CPR. 

Bolton North Blue Watch: Crew Manager Mark Mccourt, Firefighter Andrew Rothwell, Retired Firefighter Dale Martin, Firefighter John Wheeldon and James Bracegirdle.

Bolton North Blue Watch: Crew Manager Mark Mccourt, Firefighter Andrew Rothwell, Retired Firefighter Dale Martin, Firefighter John Wheeldon and James Bracegirdle.

The Bolton North Blue Watch firefighter said: “I arrived at the gym at around 8.40am and started my warm up on the cross trainer. I could see another man five machines down with his headphones on, listening to music. One minute the man was working out and the next minute he was lay on the floor.”

John rushed to his aid after realising the man was in cardiac arrest and shouted for help before performing chest compressions. Within one minute, an ambulance had been called and two members of staff from Total Fitness gym in Bolton were by his side with an automated external defibrillator.

John continued: “I ran over to the man and I could tell by the colour of his face that he wasn’t breathing. I pulled his body away from the machines so I had room to perform CPR. I continued with chest compressions whilst one staff member gave breaths and the other operated the defibrillator.

“We continued doing CPR for around six minutes before he started breathing on his own but he was under the recommended breaths per minute and then stopped breathing again. At this point the AED advised a shock, which he received just as the ambulance service arrived.”

Paramedics took over and John assisted by continuing to do chest compressions. As the man was leaving with ambulance crews to hospital, he had fortunately come round.

Senior Paramedic Team Leader from North West Ambulance Service, Shaun Brown said: “The patient was then transported to hospital where his level of consciousness increased, to the point of when we left Royal Bolton Hospital, he was sat up in bed.”

John added: “Luckily, he can’t have been on the ground for more than one minute of him collapsing before I started CPR. Fortunately he got the help straight away with the assistance of the staff at the gym, who responded brilliantly.

“I’m very pleased that I was there to help someone, and that I have the knowledge and experience through my work to do so. Hopefully I have helped saved this man’s life regardless of being on-duty or off-duty.

“It was a case of being at the right place at the right time. I wish him a speedy recovery.”

Councillor David Acton, Chair of the Fire Committee, said: “John’s quick reaction and ability to perform this life saving skill has undoubtedly given him the best possible chance of making a full recovery.

“I would like to pay tribute to John’s actions and hope that the man makes a full recovery in hospital.” 

 Originally posted at

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