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RNLI lifeguards help with suspected heart attack casualty

Lifeguards News Release

Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) lifeguards provided medical assistance to a man who collapsed with a suspected heart attack in what was a busy week on Wells beach in North Norfolk.

Last Tuesday lifeguards were alerted by a young boy to his father who he suspected of having a heart attack. On arrival lifeguards recognised the man to be in cardiac arrest and immediately started chest compression.

Prompt arrival of the Lifeguard defibrillator allowed them to successfully shock and bring the man back to full level of consciousness, fifteen minutes after he had gone into cardiac arrest.

Lifeguards continued post resuscitation care with assistance from an off duty paramedic and nurse until the air ambulance arrived. They then helped to clear the landing zone for the helicopter before assisting in evacuating the casualty onto the helicopter.

Rob Willmore, Senior RNLI Lifeguard at Wells beach, said:

“I’m very proud of the lifeguards whose extensive casualty care training immediately kicked in and provided the man with immediate lifesaving interventions. Without this high quality medical care, and the rapid recognition of cardiac arrest and early call for help from the young boy his father may not have survived.

“Many people are unaware that Lifeguards perform lifesaving work not only in the water but also on the beach in our role as first responders for all medical emergencies, both major and minor. All RNLI lifeguards are highly trained in casualty care, which is a form of advanced first aid. The remoteness of the North Norfolk Coast and the nature of the environment we work within makes it often inaccessible to road ambulances hence the Lifeguards provide a vital role in the immediate response to look after injured or ill casualties until further help arrives.”

The following day lifeguards were asked to provide more medical assistance when the Coastguard tasked them to treat a 17 year old boy who dislocated his knee whilst playing cricket on the beach. The boy was given pain relief and their leg was assessed before paramedics arrived. Coastguard and Wells lifeboat assisted lifeguards in transporting the patient off the beach and into the ambulance. It wasn’t just humans that RNLI lifeguards came to the aid of this week, on the same day a collapsed dog who had become paralyzed was helped onto a RNLI spine board and taken off the beach.


Key facts about the RNLI

The Royal National Lifeboat Institution is the charity that saves lives at sea. Our volunteers provide a 24-hour search and rescue service in the United Kingdom and Ireland from 238 lifeboat stations, including four along the River Thames and inland lifeboat stations at Loch Ness, Lough Derg, Enniskillen, Carrybridge and Lough Ree. Additionally the RNLI has more than 1,000 lifeguards on over 240 beaches around the UK and operates a specialist flood rescue team, which can respond anywhere across the UK and Ireland when inland flooding puts lives at risk.

The RNLI relies on public donations and legacies to maintain its rescue service. As a charity it is separate from, but works alongside, government-controlled and funded coastguard services. Since the RNLI was founded in 1824 our lifeboat crews and lifeguards have saved at least 140,000 lives. Volunteers make up 95% of the charity, including 4,600 volunteer lifeboat crew members and 3,000 volunteer shore crew. Additionally, tens of thousands of other dedicated volunteers raise funds and awareness, give safety advice, and help in our museums, shops and offices.

Learn more about the RNLI

For more information please visit the RNLI website or Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. News releases, videos and photos are available on the News Centre.

Contacting the RNLI - public enquiries

Members of the public may contact the RNLI on 0300 300 9990 or by email.


The RNLI is a charity registered in England and Wales (209603) and Scotland (SC037736). Charity number 20003326 in the Republic of Ireland