London Fire Brigade

Off-duty firefighter saves man’s life at St Patrick’s Day Parade

24 March 2017

An off-duty firefighter saved the life of a man who stopped breathing at the start of London's St Patrick’s Day Parade.
Beckenham and Biggin Hill Station Manager Clinton Walsh was lining up at the start of the parade along with other serving firefighters, retired members of the Brigade and their family members when his cousin’s husband, Patrick McLoughlin, said he felt unwell.

'Eyes rolling back in his head'

Patrick, who had travelled to London from Ireland for the weekend, went to sit down but stopped breathing and Clinton immediately rushed to his aid.
He said: "I was at the beginning of the parade getting ready to go with my colleagues and family members when my cousin's husband said that he felt unwell.

"The next thing I remember is hearing my name being called and I saw Patrick sitting on a wall, he was gasping and his eyes were rolling back in his head. 

"He had stopped breathing, so I immediately started doing CPR and then had to move him off of the wall he was sitting on to carry on working on him.

"I had my arms around his chest and he then started breathing again but he had no idea what was going on. He had been unconscious and not breathing for a couple of minutes."

'Saved my husband's life'

Clinton stayed with Patrick until paramedics arrived and he was checked over in an ambulance before being taken to hospital. He was discharged the same day and is now recovering at home.

Margaret McLoughlin, Clinton's cousin who was also at the parade, said: "Clinton saved my husband's life and I cannot thank him enough for what he did.

"Clinton was so calm while he was working on Patrick and he handled the whole situation so well.

"Patrick is so grateful to Clinton for what he did. I think the only thing he remembers from that is coming to and Clinton being there and the first person he saw.

"Thankfully we were in the right place at the right time. If we had been anywhere else and Clinton hadn’t been there, I don’t know what would have happened."

All firefighters within the Brigade are trained to give immediate medical care and are trained in using defibrillators, which have been on all fire engines, fire rescue units and fire boats since 2008.