Ottery firefighter Steve helps deliver baby Faith during 999 call
- Credit: Mathew Jarratt
Ottery St Mary fire station crew manager, Steve Alford, answered a 999 call he will never forget last week as he turned on the blue lights to assist with the birth of a baby.
Steve has for the past year been swapping fire hoses for medical kits while helping the South West Ambulance Service Trust as part of Operation Braidwood, an initiative set up in response to the Coronavirus outbreak in March last year.
Steve, who lives in Ottery with his wife and four children, responded to the 999 call early in the morning on Thursday, March 18 alongside his paramedic crew mate.
The couple in question, Mathew Jarratt and Naida Callens from the Newtown area of Exeter, were planning a home birth but the baby came sooner than expected with Naida’s contractions very quickly becoming more regular and closer together and it was clear that there wasn’t enough time to get a midwife.
Within 15 minutes of Steve arriving on scene a beautiful healthy baby girl was born, who the parents have named Faith. Faith was born at 2.02am weighing 7lb 1oz. Both mother and baby are doing well.
During his time working with SWAST, Steve has been to over 500 calls including cardiac arrests, heart attacks, strokes, traffic collisions, attempted suicides, drownings, drug overdoses, carbon monoxide poisoning, stabbings and multiple trauma cases as well as mental health and non-injury fall and medical calls.
Steve said: “It was really great to be able to help and a high point in my time working with the ambulance service, particularly as the first call on my shift was to a fatality. As a father of four I had been at the births of my children, however this was the first time in my professional capacity.
“Alongside assisting with the birth, one of the best parts of the job has been meeting some really interesting people and I’ve had some lovely conversations. I have met a spitfire pilot, a Navy captain, World War II child evacuees, professors, entrepreneurs and an Olympian to name but a few.
“I have so much respect for the job a paramedic has to do and I thought I had witnessed so much in my 30 years as a firefighter. These people are truly amazing, totally professional and dedicated to their job. I am proud to have been a member of the team helping the community in need.”
Thanking Steve and the crew for their help delivering his daughter, Mathew said: “Naida and I are hugely thankful to the ambulance crews that attended Faith’s rapid arrival. Steve was dubbed ‘Entonox Steve’ by the family, as he was the first in with the gas and air!
"It is credit to Steve’s professionalism that we only learnt of his full-time work as a firefighter the following day. We are hugely proud of those working both for and with the UK’s emergency services and Faith couldn’t have been in better hands. Thankyou Steve!”
A South Western Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (SWASFT) spokesperson said: “We’ve been delighted to have invaluable direct support from our fire service partners this winter and during the first wave of the pandemic. This collaboration has significantly benefitted our patient care across the South West.”
Steve has been a firefighter for 30 years ever since joining at the age of 18. He is an on-call firefighter and, when he's not tackling blazes and delivering babies, Steve can be found running Thomas Moore Toymaster shop in Fore Street, Exeter, which he owns.