Sudden death of colleague inspires Northamptonshire firm to learn first aid

Chris Stronnar, Ian Arthur, Heather Frost, Chris Frost, Sue Dagley and Angus Forsyth

Chris Stronnar, Ian Arthur, Heather Frost, Chris Frost, Sue Dagley and Angus Forsyth

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Staff shocked by the sudden death of a colleague have been inspired to learn first and buy a defibrillator for the office.

Workers at Hagerty International in Towcester were devastated by the loss of their friend and colleague, Janet César.

Janet Cesar

Janet Cesar

Five of the 18 workers at the Paulerspury firm, which specialises in classic car and bike insurance, have been through first aid training including how to deliver cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and how to use a defibrillator.

Janet, who lived in Towcester, worked at the company as Classic Car Club Liaison officer for just over a year until her death in 2014.

Angus Forsyth, managing director, said: “Tragically, Janet collapsed and died at home. She’d not come into work in the morning and we assumed she’d taken a late start as she’d been at an event the day before.

“But as the day progressed, we became more worried about her and when she wasn’t answering her phone a couple of colleagues went around to her home but when we found her it was too late.

“We later learned that Janet had a heart condition and we’ll never know, if this had happened at work, whether or not we could have saved her. But her passing has made us all really appreciate how important it is for us to know what to do if ever faced with the situation again.

“We got in touch with St John Ambulance workplace team and they came along to the offices to do some first aid training earlier this year. We got talking about Janet to our trainer Chris Stronnar who suggested we think about getting a defibrillator in our building as it massively increases the chance of survival so we bought one.

“Chris came back to the office last month (June) to show us how to use it and we’ve also told the other businesses on the business park here at Pury Hill Farm that we’ve got one in case they ever need it.”

When someone suffers a cardiac arrest, the chance of survival falls by 10 per cent every minute without first aid. But, with CPR and the use of a defibrillator within three minutes, their chance of survival could be as high as 70 per cent.

To book a workplace training course with St John Ambulance, call 0844 770 4800.