Steve saves a life on his commute home

Community Officer Steve in his uniform, holding his helmet stood in front of a fire engine. He has short, buzzcut hair.

Our Barnstaple community support officer has been praised for saving the life of a man who had collapsed near the fire station.

Steve Huxtable was on his way home from work at 5pm on 12 October when he saw the man lying beside the road on Pilton Causeway. He stopped his car and started chest compressions as the man was not breathing, using the training from his casualty care course.

After carrying out chest compressions for six minutes while alone, Steve was joined by an off-duty doctor who carried on with the compressions while Steve phoned for an ambulance.

Steve then resumed the compressions for a number of minutes until the casualty started to breathe again.

In his role as a Police and Fire Community Support Officer (PFCSO), Steve combines his role as a Police Community Support Officer with responding as an operational firefighter.

The PFCSO role is an initiative between Devon and Cornwall Police and our service that enables us both to meet the needs of local communities. The benefits of this type of role have been demonstrated by Steve as collaborative working at its best.

“If Steve had not taken action that afternoon I believe the outcome may not have been great. The ambulance crew informed him that the casualty would have probably suffered brain damage or died if Steve had not taken the action he did.

“It was very clear that Steve had everything under control. Steve is an excellent ambassador for the fire service and his role as a Police and Fire Community Support Officer.”

Crew Manager, Craig Murfitt

Murfitt manages Steve at Barnstaple Fire Station and saw the incident and how Steve handled it first-hand as he left work.

Steve has not only been receiving well-earned praise, but has also been nominated for a commendation for his part in saving this man's life.

“It’s really important that whilst we have come to expect great things from Steve, we publicly recognise and share the pride we all feel for him as colleagues for his involvement in this incident.

“As a community we are fortunate to be served by him as he continues to seamlessly blend his firefighting and policing duties across his role, and respond to those in need both on and off duty. His positivity and commitment are an example to us all.”

Andy Willis, Barnstaple Sector Police Inspector