CleanSafe man Paul takes emergency action after M25 road smash
Emergency cleaning took a back seat to emergency life saving when Paul Griffiths went to the aid of a man whose car was in collision with two lorries and the central crash barrier on the M25.
Paul, a Senior Technical Supervisor, from Waltham Abbey, Essex, had been driving to work at CleanSafe Services, when the collision happened a few metres in front of his van on the southbound carriageway just south of the Dartford Crossing.
Drivers were stuck in a huge tailback after the accident on Friday 1 December, which resulted in the carriageway being closed for 30 minutes at one point.
Paul said: “The car was in collision with a lorry, spun around and was in collision with another lorry, then hit the central barrier. There was debris all over the road. It was amazing no one else was involved.
“I got out of my van and went over to see what I could do to help, along with a man from the car in front of me, who turned out to be an off-duty police officer.
“The man was sitting in his badly damaged car, with all the air bags deployed, apparently unconscious. We forced open his door which was smashed in. The police officer couldn’t find a pulse, and the man didn’t seem to be breathing either.
“We knew he shouldn’t be moved, but we quickly decided to get him out of his car because he might have needed cardiopulmonary resuscitation. The police officer’s wife got a knife from their car, so we could cut him out of his seat belt.”
As Paul, who has been first-aid trained, and the police officer lifted the man from the car, he started to come around and take in sharp breaths.
Paul said: “We had him stood up, then he started to shout and struggle. It was clear he didn’t know where he was, or what he was doing. He wanted to be left alone, but if we hadn’t got a hold of him, he could have wandered into traffic which was speeding past a few feet away.
“We thought it best to get him back in his car where he would be safest, until emergency services arrived. He was a big man, and it was hard to help him while he was struggling and lashing out. It took both of us restrain him.”
Paul also lent his company PPE jacket to the police officer’s wife, so she could direct traffic around the accident scene.
Once the paramedics arrived, he also positioned the CleanSafe van to block one lane, and the police officer’s car to block another, to protect the emergency crews as they worked. Then he joined in directing traffic for 20 minutes, waiting for traffic police to arrive.
Emergency actions “a credit”
Paul said: “It wasn’t the best start to the day, but I was glad I was able to help in some way. If the man had been left in the car, his condition might have got worse, and he was certainly not safe on the motorway with vehicles going past once he had regained consciousness, so I believe we did the best we could for him.”
Steve Broughton, Managing Director of CleanSafe Services, the UK’s leading emergency cleaning specialist, said: “Paul’s actions were a credit to himself and to CleanSafe Services. While others drove on by, he got out to help.
“It’s no surprise to me that an off-duty police officer and a CleanSafe employee were first to respond. Thanks to both of them, the injured man was looked after brilliantly, and other road users were kept safe.”