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Detective Sergeant Dan Whitney, Sergeant Brad Hasson, Dane Pepper, Detective Sergeant Nathan Carbone and Sergeant Simon Bowen

BY Jessica Cuthbert

 
“I’m lucky to be alive. If it was any other night, I wouldn’t be here.” 
 
These are the words of Dane Pepper, a 27-year-old who unexpectedly suffered a heart attack two weeks ago.
 
Dane was at his workplace, Striker Indoor Sports and Fitness in Leeming, when without warning he dropped to the ground. Within minutes, he had stopped breathing. 
 
Four bystanders who were enjoying a game of indoor cricket, noticed the medical emergency and rushed to Dane’s aid. 
 
Those people were off duty police officers, Sergeant Simon Bowen, Sergeant Brad Hasson, Detective Sergeant Dan Whitney and Detective Sergeant Nathan Carbone. 
 
Instantly, the officers sprang into action and began CPR whilst on the phone to Triple 0. 
 
Luckily, the sporting facility was well equipped with medical equipment and a defibrillator. 
 
Simon said he and the others were having a hit of cricket when they noticed Dane in the other lane suddenly tense up and fall to the ground. 
 
“It definitely didn’t look ideal. Pretty soon after, his team mates got around him and started to call for help. It all happened so quick, it’s a bit of a blur. We didn’t really think about it, we just acted,” he said.
 
“It wasn’t long after he was on the ground that the four of us were in the net and doing the initial assessment. Pretty scarily, Dane had stopped breathing so we went straight into emergency first aid and CPR.
 
“We attended to him with CPR and the defibrillator for about 15 minutes before the arrival of the ambulance. It was a really good team effort, everyone responded so quickly and worked really well together.
 
“The triple 0 operator was phenomenal, keeping us all calm. It was just like clockwork, everyone knew their role to play and thankfully we got an excellent outcome and Dane is here with us today.”
 
Sergeant Brad Hasson said he had no doubt that Dane wouldn’t be here today if it had not been for the officers jumping in and responding with the first aid equipment available to them. 
 
“There was probably two or three times during the ordeal that we were thinking we were in quite a bit of trouble. It wasn’t looking good,” he said. 
 
“We are just so thankful and happy that Dane is here with us today, it’s the best outcome.”
 
Detective Sergeant Dan Whitney said the experience only reinforces how important first aid training is for everyone. 
 
“As police officers we are lucky that we have the training we do to deal with these situations. This just highlights the need for people to have first aid training. This sort of thing can happen anywhere and anytime, you certainly don’t expect it,” he said. 
 
“But it did happen on that night and because we all had that training we knew exactly what to do,” he said. 
 
The officers were updated during the night on Dane’s condition after he was taken to hospital. 
 
They also arranged a visit at the hospital the following week where Dane was able to meet the heroes that acted so quickly and saved his life. 
 
The off duty police officers were told by paramedics that if they didn’t do all they did that night, Dane would not be here today. 
 
Dane said he doesn’t remember much about what happened that day, but he was immensely thankful to the officers who saved his life. 
 
“It was explained to me when I was in hospital, that I more or less suffered a heart attack. That was a very strange experience,” he said. 
 
“I was told that almost instantly after going down on the court, the guys were on me performing CPR and doing what needed to be done to save my life.
 
“Having the defibrillator in the centre as well was so important, thanks to that and the boys I am here today to tell the story.”
 
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Sadly, Dane lost his mother when she was 46 years old to a heart attack. 
 
“I was aware that there were some underlying heart conditions in my family, but as a 27-year-old fitness instructor, reasonably fit and healthy, you do not expect anything like that to happen,” he said.
 
“It was a very scary experience but I cannot speak highly enough of the four police officers who saved my life. As morbid as it sounds, I could not have dropped dead in a better spot.
 
“I’m incredibly lucky to still be here today. Two weeks on and I feel like a million bucks.”
 
Dane now has an ICD defibrillator that sits under his skin as protection if something like this was to happen again. 
 
WA Police Union President Harry Arnott said the actions of these police officers highlighted their commitment to serve and protect their communities, on and off duty. 
 
“Police officers swear an oath to protect and serve 24 hours a day, seven days a week and these officers acted in accordance with that commitment,” he said. 
 
“By their very nature, police officers are extremely community minded and will always go above and beyond.
 
“Unquestionably these officers have saved the life of a young man. They have done an excellent job and should be very proud.”