SIX St Arnaud Group Country Fire Authority members have received a Chief Officer's Commendation after their quick thinking saved crew mate Craig Cheesman's life.
The volunteers were out on a training exercise in Gre Gre on Friday, October 12 last year when Mr Cheesman stumbled and fell down.
He was having a heart attack and didn't wake up until the following Tuesday.
"The doctors said to me that the work the boys did on me was the most important part," he said.
"Because they did such a good job, that's what got us through and I never lost any memory or anything like that. I was lucky, really."
The first person to act was crew member Peter Knight, who was the only person to see Mr Cheesman fall.
He was quick to dial Triple Zero.
"The hardest part was the next two minutes trying to deliver an address," he said.
"That was the biggest frustration but once I was able to do that, I was able to get on the CFA radio and radio for assistance."
While still on the phone to Triple Zero, Mr Knight began administering CPR.
Shortly after, the other crew members arrived on a truck equipped with a defibrillator.
One of the members, Tom Hamilton, is also a community support volunteer with Ambulance Victoria.
"I was pretty happy to be able to hand over to Tom, knowing he knew more than I did," Mr Knight said.
"We tagged from there and the defib arrived.
"(Crew members) Simon (Elliott) and Dave (Reynolds) started assisting with the CPR and setting up the defib."
Mr Knight said the incident highlighted the value of having a defibrillator machine nearby, regardless of the situation.
"The defibs on the trucks is a massive overall improvement to safety, not just for fire fighters but for the community," he said.
The crew had placed a defibrillator on the truck of their own volition about four years ago.
However, they are becoming more common place.
Last year District 16 received funding through the state government's Enhancing Volunteerism Grants Program for its Defibrillator Project, which has seen 54 defibrillators installed in tankers throughout the region.
"I've been lucky enough to see it before, in that chain of survival, getting a defib in early makes all the difference," said David Reynolds.
"I've had to do CPR four times and two of those times we've had a defib quickly on scene and both people survived.
"It just speaks volumes to having a defib there."
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