Heart attack victim praises firefighters and UHI colleague who saved her life

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Melanie Smith visited the fire station in Inverness today to thank staff who responded to the emergency in November last year

Melanie Smith , Peter Dennis And Firefighters Who Saved Her Life

Caption: Melanie Smith, University of the Highlands and Islands Inverness College's Peter Dennis and firefighters David Main, David Dugdale, Cher Pumphrey and Michael MacMillan.

Four Inverness based firefighters have been praised by their senior officer for helping to save a woman’s life after she collapsed at work at Inverness College UHI towards the end of last year.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Local Senior Officer for Highland, Scott Hay, also paid tribute to the staff at the college for their “speedy response,” and “quick thinking,” after one worker ran across Harbour Road to the fire station to raise the alarm.

The drama unfolded at around 11:19am on Tuesday (12 November 2013) when Melanie Smith suffered a heart attack at work.

Immediately, one of the Melanie's colleagues at the University of the Highlands and Islands Inverness College, Peter Dennis, administered initial, potentially life saving first aid before seeking out assistance from firefighters.  

Firefighters, Cher Pumphrey, David Main, David Dugdale and Michael MacMillan, responded to the plea for assistance.

The four raced across to the College building and using their experience and training began administering lifesaving, emergency treatment to the casualty Melanie Smith, Head of Research & Postgraduate Development at Inverness College UHI.

The Scottish Ambulance Service arrived at the scene and firefighters assisted paramedics by travelling with them to Raigmore Hospital, whilst Melanie continued to receive crucial, life-saving treatment. She was taken to the intensive care unit and spent a number of weeks in hospital.

Melanie has now returned to work and recently visited the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service station at Harbour Road, Inverness to thank the firefighters personally for saving her life.

Melanie Smith said: “I’d like to express my heartfelt thanks to everyone involved. I am so lucky to be alive, and this is entirely down to the quick thinking and fast actions of all concerned on the day. Incidents like this highlight the importance of up to date first aid training, and I hope my experience will encourage more people to learn this vital skill.”

LSO Scott Hay said: “I would not only like to praise the actions of our officers within the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, but the quick response by those at Inverness College UHI, who reacted superbly well to what was a fast moving, dynamic emergency situation.

“I would like to pay tribute to the professionalism of our officers who responded. A combination of their training, experience and ability to respond under pressure in an emergency situation undoubtedly contributed to saving Miss Smith’s life.”

He added: “This was an excellent example of partnership working at its best and I would also like to praise the ambulance and hospital staff for their tremendous efforts.”