FIREFIGHTER Joe Dowling proved that GMFRS' people are
never really off-duty when he spotted a collision as he drove to
work this week and immediately went to the aid of two young women
trapped in a car.
The White Watch crew member from Gorton was on his way to work
at Altrincham Fire Station when he came across a collision as he
headed up Stockport Road, Levenshulme, at 9am on Tuesday, May
Joe noticed no one from the emergency services was at the scene
yet so pulled in and went over to help.
He said: "I was in heavy traffic so didn't see it until I was
driving past but saw that there was no one there to help so my
brain started ticking.
"I pulled in as soon as I could and spoke to a woman at the
scene and checked that someone had called 999, which I was told
"I made a quick assessment about how many casualties were
involved, secured the car by putting the handbrake on and started
talking to the girls stuck in the car while assessing their
"I was feeling uneasy about how many minutes had passed without
anyone else arriving at the scene."
Joe dialled 999 himself and discovered he was in fact the first
person to call.
Thanks to his firefighter training, he was able to pass
comprehensive details on to the ambulance service about the women's
conditions so they would know what they were responding to.
The 27-year-old driver had suffered possible spinal and hip
injuries and the 21-year-old passenger had suffered possible spinal
injuries - from talking to the women and looking at the impact, he
was most concerned about the passenger.
Joe got into the car and stabilised the passenger just as he
would with the rest of the crew working together at the scene of
"The crew from Whitehill Fire Station got a bit of a shock when
they arrived and saw me there," added Joe. "It had been a daunting
situation for me until they arrived and seemed like the longest few
minutes of my life - I'm used to turning up to something like that
with a team.
"Normally, you get there with a crew so you face it together and
you're wearing full protective gear but I had no one around and I
was just in my regular uniform.
"I felt the pressure but I just made the best I could of a bad
As well as a crew from Whitehill, a crew from Joe's regular
station of Gorton went out to the scene.
They were on the scene for more than an hour cutting the women
carefully from the car.
Station Manager Chris Mycock said: "It was protracted because
the injured women were stable so the crews made as much space as
possible for the ambulance service without disturbing their
injuries any more than absolutely necessary."