Councillors quick to help stricken woman

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by Chris Tobin

Right men, right place.

That was the case for two Timaru district councillors and ex-policemen Steve Wills and Peter Burt.

The two health and safety managers were sitting in a cafe last Wednesday having a catch-up over coffee.

A group of women of various ages sat at another table, members of a walking group as they later learned, who were relaxing after their exercise.

“Steve was watching one of the ladies and saw that she was about to collapse,” Mr Burt said.

The woman looked grey in the face and extremely drained.

Rather than sit and wait to see if the 72-year-old woman would collapse, Mr Wills immediately went to assist.

“All my training just kicked in,” Mr Wills said.

Both Mr Wills and Mr Burt received extensive training in medical assistance during their time in the police.

Mr Wills got the woman round, they raised her legs to rest on a chair taking pressure off her heart, and asked her if she had any health problems which proved to be blood pressure issues.

After this they rang for an ambulance and continued to give the woman assurance until it arrived.

“Early intervention is important,” Mr Burt said.

“Most people can just go into a panic but you’ve got to make a decision and get involved.

“Never hesitate to ring 111 – you’ve just got to do it,” Mr Burt said.

Later he rang the cafe to find out if the woman was OK and was told she had recovered well.

“She was given medication and was fine. She wasn’t hospitalised.”

Both men have been in similar situations before.

Four years ago, Mr Burt stopped to assist 71-year-old council contractor Alan Shaw after he collapsed at the Wait-iti and Evans St intersection in Timaru.

Mr Burt had been driving by and saw Mr Shaw collapse.

Her rushed to help, administered CPR and helped until an ambulance arrived.

Mr Shaw had suffered an aortic aneurysm. He regained full consciousness a week later in Christchurch Hospital.

“He changed his lifestyle after that and retired,” Mr Burt said.