Firefighter treats multiple shot victims in South Africa

A Shoreham firefighter dealt with multiple shootings while training with frontline medics in South Africa.

Neil Graham (second from left) and South African medics
Neil Graham (second from left) and South African medics

West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service (WSFRS) sends firefighters on search and rescue missions abroad.

Neil Graham, who was sent to Nepal after more than 8,000 were killed by an earthquake in April, gained ‘invaluable’ experience on the three-week training stint, said a spokesman.

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Neil, a member of WSFRS’s Technical Rescue Unit (TRU) in Horley, said: “We landed on the Thursday and started work the next day on the busiest night shifts, over Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

“When we deploy abroad now every team has to have their own sector medic. We do training over here, but don’t often get a chance to use the skills we have been taught.

“One of the worst incidents we went to was a hammer attack, where an intruder had got in to a family home, but there were also stabbings and shootings, including one incident where it was all hands on deck dealing with two shooting victims in the back of an ambulance at the same time.”

Neil responded to more than 100 calls over the 15 12-hour shifts he worked with paramedics and two other firefighters and a doctor from the UK.

A WSFRS spokesman said the trip will help him provide immediate help to fellow firefighters. It was organised through the Government’s International Search and Rescue.

Neil is one of two trained sector medics within the TRU and will alternate international deployments with his colleague Peter Thorp-Hincks.

Six members of the unit flew out to Nepal to help following April’s devastating quake.

The TRU was set up in 2006 and the mission to Nepal was the sixth the team has undertaken in as many years, following previous efforts to help in Indonesia, Haiti, New Zealand, Japan and Bosnia.

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