St John Ambulance volunteers save region’s former top cop

File photo of former Barossa Local Service Area Chief Inspector Alex Zimmermann.

Former Barossa Local Service Area Chief Inspector Alex Zimmermann owes his life to St John Ambulance volunteers.

He was at the Royal Adelaide Show last year, in an official capacity, when he felt incredible pressure in his chest.

Volunteers took C/Insp Zimmermann to the St John Ambulance tent where he described his symptoms.

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He went into cardiac arrest and using a defibrillator, volunteers revived him, saving  the life of the then 61 year old.

If he sat down and waited, C/Insp Zimmermann said he would have died and is unbelievably grateful to the volunteers.

“I still couldn’t believe it, when they laid me down and were treating me, that I was having a heart attack,” said C/Insp Zimmermann.

“It was a huge scare. The pains were incredible and when I had the arrest it was pain free. I am very very grateful to be here to watch the family grow up.”

Since the heart attack, C/Insp Zimmermann had an emergency stent fitted and has taken it onboard to encourage others to have regular health checks and be trained in CPR.

He has purchased his own defibrillator and it stays in his vehicle at all times so he can help others.

In addition, C/Insp Zimmermann tells his story to others and is working with Australian Hearts in the hope that more defibrillators are in public spaces.

“Life is too precious… you should make the most of it and have yourself checked out,” said C/Insp Zimmermann.

“These things when you get older can appear fairly quickly. It is something that you don’t think will happen to you.”

C/Insp Zimmermann, who now works in Adelaide as the officer in charge for SAPOL’s community engagement section, was appointed to the region in 2008. He moved from that role into a recovery co-ordinator position for the Pinery fires in 2015.