Firefighter who had a cardiac arrest on sports field says he wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the colleagues who saved him

Two firefighters who saved the life of a colleague who was refereeing a shinty match in Highland when he suffered a cardiac arrest have been recognised for their heroic efforts.

Two shinty players with fire chief
Firefighter Conor Cormack (left), LSO Michael Humphreys (centre) and On Call Firefighter Keith MacRae (right)

Firefighters Conor Cormack and Keith MacRae swiftly retrieved a nearby defibrillator to use on Watch Commander Steven MacLachlan during a cup match between Shiel and Caberfeidh in Strathpeffer on Saturday, 30 March.

They started cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the pitch until paramedics arrived. Steven was transported to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness and is recovering well.

Steven returned to the pitch grounds on Saturday (13 April) to support his colleagues who were presented with certificates.

Reflecting on the incident, Steven said: “If it wasn’t for Conor and Keith, I wouldn’t be here to tell the tale. The pair of them thoroughly deserve the recognition they’ve been given.”

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s Local Senior Officer for Highland Michael Humphreys attended the rescheduled Caberfeidh v Kinlochshiel match in Strathpeffer at the weekend to acknowledge their efforts.

He said: “Firefighters acquire life-saving skills as part of their role but they are sometimes called upon to use them in the most unexpected of situations.

“The actions performed by Conor and Keith, supported by those around them, did save Steven’s life and it’s an honour to mark their efforts."

“We all wish Steven a continued speedy recovery.”

CPR is a life-saving procedure performed when someone is in cardiac arrest and it helps to pump blood and oxygen around a person’s body when their heart can’t.

Conor, a wholetime firefighter at Inverness Community Fire Station, and Keith, an on call firefighter at Kyle Community Fire Station, will receive a formal Chief Officer's Commendation for their actions later this year.

In light of recent events, the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service, in partnership with charity Lucky2BHere, will hold a series of defibrillator awareness evenings aimed specifically at sports teams across the Western Isles.

Men attending CPR awareness session in Western Isles
SFRS crew from Shawbost Fire Station, Isle of Lewis alongside members of Western Isles CSA, Carloway Football Club and Carloway First Responders

The initiative is being rolled out by Group Commander Dougie Campbell, with support from Lewis Camanach shinty team, Stornoway Rugby, and Western Isles Men and Women's Football.

Emphasising the importance of being equipped with life-saving skills, Dougie said: “As we celebrate the bravery of Conor and Keith, their actions show us how vital it is for everyone to know how to save a life.

“We would encourage as many of the players and officials to attend at the awareness nights when they take place in their local fire stations.”

For more information on how you can get involved, please complete our contact form

Please visit Save a Life for Scotland to learn more about CPR awareness and to learn skills which could help you to save a life.