Air­lie’s am­bos set Guin­ness World Record for CPR

Whitsunday Times - - FRONT PAGE -

WHEN Ian Rad­ford and Steve Thurtell were asked by the Queens­land Am­bu­lance Ser­vice to raise aware­ness of CPR, lit­tle did their col­leagues at the Whit­sun­day sta­tions re­alise they’d be go­ing for a world record at­tempt.

The QAS was tar­get­ing 10,000 peo­ple across the whole Mackay / Whit­sun­day re­gion, but “Whit­sun­day de­cided to take a dif­fer­ent ap­proach and see if we could really heighten aware­ness by break­ing a world record at the same time,” Steve Thurtell, Of­fi­cer in Charge of the Whit­sun­day Am­bu­lance Sta­tion said.

“I’d call it naive but it wasn’t with­out be­ing cal­cu­lated.”

That cal­cu­la­tion was based on the fact about 2000 Schoolies were de­scend­ing on Air­lie Beach over the week­end of Novem­ber 21–22 and when the record was bro­ken on Sun­day night it was cer­tainly with their help.

“The Schoolies were just fan­tas­tic,” Mr Thurtell said.

“With­out them and the or­gan­is­ers we couldn’t have done it – and maybe now they can tell all their friends they broke a world record at Schoolies as well.”

But de­spite the help from the Schoolies crowd, Sun­day’s achieve­ment was by no means an easy feat.

“World records are set be­cause they’re bloody tough to beat and I knew how tough this was go­ing to be when I was plan­ning it with Steve,” Mr Rad­ford said.

“We had mas­sive nerves for two days build­ing up to it – we couldn’t sleep or eat and the morn­ing of (the at­tempt) it just seemed so far fetched.”

The Guin­ness World Record for the num­ber of peo­ple par­tic­i­pat­ing in a CPR re­lay was bro­ken just last month in the UK city of Manch­ester, where 800 peo­ple smashed the pre­vi­ous record of 701 set in Times Square, New York.

When the Whit­sun­day pa- ramedics got to 140 peo­ple on Sun­day morn­ing “at least we could say it wasn’t a to­tal fizz,” Mr Thurtell said.

And that fig­ure kept ris­ing – to 300, then 500, then 600.

“And when we got to 700, we thought, ‘we got this’,” Mr Thurtell said.

It was Mr Rad­ford who ac­tu­ally broke the record at 801 – a record that turned into 863 peo­ple from 14 na­tions, per­form­ing 60 chest com­pres­sions each, with no more than five sec­onds off the manne- quin in just over 10.5 hours.

“And I think the only thing we’re dis­ap­pointed in is that af­ter 863 peo­ple, the man­nequin didn’t ac­tu­ally come to life,” Mr Rad­ford joked.

Mr Rad­ford and Mr Thurtell are now com­pil­ing all their ev­i­dence from the day and hope to have the record rat­i­fied in the near fu­ture.

They both paid trib­ute to all those who par­tic­i­pated, thereby learn­ing an im­por­tant skill, and the Whit­sun­day paramedics who pulled it off.

Photo: Sharon Small­wood

WE DID IT: Cel­e­brat­ing the break­ing of a Guin­ness World Record for CPR in Air­lie Beach are (back, from left) Claire and Bruce Carter, An­thony Fletcher, Mur­ray Par­nell, Philip Glover, Alice Jumelet, Steve Thurtell (Whit­sun­day Am­bu­lance Sta­tion...

RECORD BREAKER: The mo­ment Ian Rad­ford (801) broke the record on Sun­day night hand­ing over to Zi­jun Gao (802).

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