QUICK-THINKING security guards brought a pensioner back from the brink of death five times after he collapsed in a busy town centre shop.
Paul Foster, Graeme Stafford and Adam Goodwin have been hailed as life savers after their “incredible” efforts helped to save a man who fell unconscious at the Primark store, in Hartlepool’s Middleton Grange Shopping Centre.
A portable defibrillator introduced just two months ago at the centre was used by first-aiders Paul, Graeme and Adam for the first time to revive the man, who is thought to have suffered a suspected heart attack.
Ambulance chiefs have hailed the workers’ efforts and centre bosses believe that without the trio’s heroic actions and the £1,000 piece of kit, the shopper, who has not been named, could have died.
Middleton Grange’s operations manager, Graeme Skillen, who was also on the scene, said: “They performed magnificently.
“They really stepped up to the plate and literally saved this guy’s life.
“It was a very powerful thing to see and an incredibly emotional situation to be involved in.”
The drama unfolded when the man, thought to be in his late 60s, was shopping alone in Primark and collapsed.
Store staff radioed the centre’s control staff, who alerted security.
Security officer Paul, 23, who was on patrol near New Look, was first on the scene as more than 100 shoppers were ushered out of the store to allow the man to be treated.
Paul rushed over to the man and talked to the stricken shopper, but found he was unresponsive.
Paul, who is dad to three-year-old Paul junior and six-month-old Lacey Foster, said: “I asked for my colleague Graeme to come as he’s a more advanced first-aider than me.
“I immediately shouted to control to call an ambulance.
“We introduced the defibrillator five minutes into giving CPR.
“But we kept getting his pulse and it would go.
“Adam came shortly after Graeme.”
Graeme, who lives in Blackhall with wife Gill, 42, and nine-year-old daughter Alice, added: “He had a slight pulse when I arrived.
“We realised we had lost him and had to start work on him and started doing mouth-to-mouth and compressions.”
Graeme, Paul and Adam, 23 from Hartlepool, who is dad to three-year-old Aidan Foster and partner of Kaye Lee, admitted it was daunting using the hi-tech laptop-sized defibrillator, which “talks” users through how to use it, for the first time.
“His heart stopped, but we got him back three times with compressions and twice with the defibrillator,” added Graeme, who has worked at the centre for three months.
“If it wasn’t for the defibrillator, I don’t know whether he would have survived.”
Paul, who lives in Blackhall with wife Charlene, 24, and has worked at the centre for three years, added: “I had never performed CPR before.
“I thought I would freeze, but I think the adrenaline kicked in and it all fell into shape.
“It was a real team effort.
“It was elation for all the guys, knowing all our hard work had paid off.”
The man was rushed to the University Hospital of North Tees following the incident which happened around 3pm last Saturday, where his condition is described as stable.
Centre manager Mark Rycraft said: “The whole company is really proud of them. “I think what they have done, using a piece of equipment that we had not had in place very long, shows training, preparation and planning can pay off and in this case save someone’s life.”
A North East Ambulance spokesman said: “These security guards played a vital part in keeping this man alive.
“If CPR isn’t started straight away, the chances of survival are dramatically reduced.”
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