A 39-year-old employee at Melton’s Morrisons has helped the supermarket chain win a national first aid award after saving a customer’s life by using the store’s defibrillator.
The actions of Matthew Griffiths in responding quickly to help a man who had collapsed in the lift with a full cardiac arrest were crucial in helping him recover.
Morrisons has placed a defibrillator - which can re-start a heart by delivering an electric shock- in all of its 494 stores in the UK and Matthew’s was one of five in-store incidents where the device has saved a life.
The company’s attitude to safeguarding the health of customers has now led to it winning a prestigious St John Ambulance Everyday Heroes award.
Matthew was alerted as a qualified first aider after the middle-aged man was found slumped in the lift which leads from the car park.
He checked for vital signs, found the man had neither a pulse or a heart beat and then began performing CPR on his chest.
Matthew, who lives in Wymondham Way in Melton, then grabbed the store defibrillator from the nearby customer services department and began to use that on the stricken customer.
“I managed to get a pulse and a heart beat starting after using the defibrillator,” he told the Melton Times.
“I was with him for 10 or 15 minutes before the paramedics arrived and they told me I had saved his life.
“About four weeks later I got a letter from the man’s wife thanking me for saving his life and then he wrote himself to say he was recovering which was very special.
“It was pretty awesome to have done something like that for someone and quite overwhelming.”
The defibrillator has been in the store for about 18 months and Matthew, who has worked for Morrisons for a decade, would like to see them provided more widely.
He added: “We have one in all our stores. They are quite straight forward to use and I think they should be available in all big stores and everywhere where there are large numbers of people gathering.”
The supermarket chain won its St John Ambulance award in a category which celebrates those who stepped forward when it mattered most to help people with first aid, to support communities and have a positive impact on health.
Morrisons have spent £500,000 on its life-saving in-store initiative, funded by the retailer’s charitable arm, Morrisons Foundation, and as part of it, more than 2,300 employees attended sessions with St John Ambulance volunteers on how to use defibrillators and give CPR.
Gary Mills, group retail director of Morrisons, said: “We hope it’s reassuring for customers, colleagues and the local community to know that we have defibrillators in Morrisons.
“We have staff trained in first aid and CPR but a defibrillator boosts a person’s chances of survival in the event of a cardiac arrest so we’re pleased to have them in our stores.”
Mark Farmer, director of first aid services at St John Ambulance, said: “Our Everyday Heroes awards recognise those who give and champion first aid to make a real difference.
“This huge undertaking by Morrisons to keep people safe has already reaped the rewards of lives saved and is a most deserving winner of our Workplace Hero award.
“Up to seven out of 10 people who suffer a cardiac arrest could survive if they are treated with a defibrillator within the first five minutes.
“We know from our research that members of the public would like to see more of these vital devices in their neighbourhood, so we encourage other businesses to install defibrillators as a matter of urgency.”