A quick-thinking paramedic saved her colleagues life when she found him choking to death on a sandwich in the staff room.
Hayley Bennett, 39, wasted no time when she walked into the work break room and spotted colleague Gareth Jones, 42, choking on his bread roll.
With Gareth turning bright red and unable to breathe, Hayley jumped into action with a combination of back slaps and the Heimlich manoeuvre.
Hayley’s quick-thinking saved her colleague’s life and she has now been awarded a chief executive’s commendation – a bravery award – for her heroic actions.
Grateful Gareth, from Tenby, southwest Wales, said: “It frightened the hell out of me.
“I felt like I was going. I’d read about the impending sense of doom in text books, and that’s exactly what I had.
“I’m eternally grateful to Hayley. Without her, my wife would be a widow and my kids would have no father.
“Someone was looking after me that night.
“They would have found me dead on the station floor if Hayley hadn’t arrived as there was no other medically trained people there that night.”
The pair from the Welsh Ambulance Service weren’t even meant to be working together, but were partnered after Hayley’s colleague called in sick, on April 24.
Hayley joined Gareth to form a conveying emergency ambulance resource, and he was eating dinner in the work break room part way through his late shift, at Tenby ambulance station when it got stuck in his throat, at around 8pm.
Hayley, from Pembroke, Pembrokeshire, Wales, said: “I knew he was in trouble straight away. His face was bright red and his eyes were bulging. He’d jumped out of his seat and was hammering on his chest.
“I was on him in seconds. Back slaps to start with, and really shouting at him to cough as he was trying to breathe in.
“I moved on to the Heimlich manoeuvre but it dislodged nothing. I returned to back slaps quickly and eventually he vomited which cleared his airways.
“I think it felt like such a long time as we were there alone.
“It was one of the most bizarre things that’s ever happened to me – I’ve never had to work on a colleague before.
“It was shocking really. I wasn’t supposed to be there.”
The duo had no real time to recover as their radio went off soon after with a top priority ‘red’ call coming in and they had to rush away in their ambulance.
Hayley was awarded a bravery commendation last Tuesday , handed to her by the trust’s chief executive Jason Killens.
He said: “Gareth was really lucky that Hayley arrived and was able to administer that crucial first aid.
“Choking is something that can happen to anybody and it is important the public are aware of correct procedure should an emergency like this occur.
“I congratulate Hayley for stepping in and halting what could have been a disastrous outcome for Gareth, his family and his colleagues.”
After receiving the award, Hayley said: “It’s a lovely gesture and I feel very honoured.”