Life-saving CPR by strangers likely saved the lives of two men in Queenstown over the last fortnight, ambos say.
The men, aged 30 and 68, are recovering well despite having cardiac arrests.
St John Queenstown station boss Keith Raymond says CPR performed within seconds by bystanders was crucial.
He won’t go into details of the incidents - although one is believed to have collapsed at a Rees Street bar on Monday afternoon.
“Without someone doing CPR before us getting there, it is highly likely neither one would have survived.”
St John’s base is at Frankton and the trip to central Queenstown is along a sometimes clogged state highway.
Raymond: “The expectation that an ambulance can be there straight away is unrealistic.
“With the best intentions, it is still eight minutes from the [St John] station to town and that can be in rush-hour traffic.”
Those eight minutes are vital. He says heart muscle damage can happen without compression.
On Monday, fire volunteers - St John-trained first responders - were called to deal with the collapsed man.
They arrived two minutes before ambos, and already had a defibrillator out by the time they arrived.
Raymond encourages people to step in if they realise someone is in trouble.
There are situations, he says, where “only a little knowledge” can be dangerous.
His tip is to get educated. A little basic training can save someone’s life, Raymond says.
“First aid courses are invaluable,” he says.
“Be knowledgeable about what you are doing.”