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ROCHDALE Firefighter Chris Watson has been given a top fire service award after saving the lives of six people following a serious road traffic collision.
Chris, from White Watch, was presented with a County Fire Officer’s Certificate of Outstanding Performance on Tuesday, April 19, 2016, in a ceremony at Rochdale Community Fire Station.
On Saturday, January 30, 2016, at around 4pm, Chris was on a fire engine travelling back from standby duties at Chadderton along the A627M when the crew came across a serious collision on the entry slip-road to the M62.
The fire engine stopped at the bottom of the slip-road and Crew Manager Andy Holland went to assess the incident.
At that time in the late afternoon the weather conditions were particularly bad – the temperature was below freezing and it had been snowing.
The vehicle involved had gone through the crash barrier and the driver had been partially ejected and was hanging out of the driver’s door. There were also five other casualties in the vehicle.
The fire engine reversed up to the incident and Crew Manager Holland asked Chris – a trained Trauma Technician – to look after the casualties while he requested additional assistance.
On realising that there were six casualties in the vehicle, Chris immediately went over to the vehicle to assist.
He then singlehandedly checked each casualty, prioritised their injuries and dealt with each one in turn while awaiting assistance from North West Ambulance Service (NWAS).
In the meantime, while Crew Manager Holland and other crew members were controlling the hazardous scene on the motorway, two of the casualties started walking around.
During the incident another vehicle also span off the main carriageway and collided with a lamp post, narrowly missing the casualties and crew. Luckily there were no further injuries.
Chris stayed with the vehicle for over an hour until all casualties had been released and a passing NWAS HART (Hazardous Area Response Team) arrived.
Thanks to Chris’ life-saving trauma technician skills, all six casualties were treated at the scene in extremely challenging weather conditions and conveyed to hospital.
Presenting the certificate, Deputy County Fire Officer Paul Argyle said: “Firefighter Watson applied his trauma technician skills in hazardous conditions on an extremely busy stretch of motorway.
“Thanks to his knowledge and experience, the casualties involved received the best chance of survival before paramedics arrived.
“Firefighter Watson’s actions are truly in the spirit of Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service and are worthy of recognition with a County Fire Officer’s Certificate of Outstanding Performance.”