Three CFA volunteer firefighters have been officially commended for saving the life of a fellow firefighter a year ago during the NSW fires.
Upwey firefighter Jessica Jacobs, Wonga Park Lieutenant Luke Summerscales and 1st Deputy Group Officer – Dandenong Ranges Group Alan Potts received a Chief Officer Commendation for their incredibly brave and heroic actions on Thursday 28 November, 2019.
CFA Strike Team 1304 were conducting back burning operations in the Kaloe Mountain region, west of Grafton, alongside NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NSW NPWS), when their Divisional Commander John Kennedy collapsed.
Firefighters Jessica Jacobs and Luke Summerscales rushed to his aid amongst the dozer line dust, rocks, heat and smoke.
Ms Jacobs performed CPR while Mr Summerscales called to his crew to announce a MAYDAY over the radio for an ambulance and an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) from the nearby firefighting vehicles, before assisting Ms Jacobs with CPR.
CFA Strike Team Leader Alan Potts lead his team during the emergency ensuring the necessary support was provided to the crews conducting CPR as well as monitoring the safety and control of the back burn.
After more than 45 minutes of CPR and AED administration, Mr Kennedy began breathing on his own again. Amazingly, Mr Kennedy was able to walk with assistance to the NSW Police vehicle to be transported to the ambulance helicopter.
Strike Team Leader Alan Potts said the dedication and commitment from every member of the team was incredible.
“We reached this positive outcome thanks to the entire team. We all worked closely together and I’m very grateful for their hard work and compassion that day,” Mr Potts said.
CFA Deputy Chief Officer Paul King presented the Commendations and said our firefighters demonstrated the highest level of professionalism, skill and courage in saving the life of Mr Kennedy.
“These firefighters were working under extreme conditions in a very difficult environment. Their collective actions prevented a probable tragedy, and their dedication and compassion in managing the situation was second to none,” DCO King said.
“There is no greater reward than saving the life of another human being and they should feel very proud.
“Jessica, Luke, Alan and the entire 1304 Strike Team are a credit to CFA and the community.”
NSW National Parks and Wildlife Team Leader John Kennedy thanked the recipients via Zoom link at the presentation.
The CFA Strike Team 1304 was also presented a plaque and letter from NSW NPWS for their combined outstanding skill and bravery.