"Legendary" Ambulance Paramedic - renowned for his work in the rescue of Stuart Diver in the Mt Thredbo disaster, the Granville Train Disaster and the Beaconsfield Mine Rescue.
Paul Featherstone was the paramedic who psychologically held Diver's hand for 12 hours until he was freed from his concrete tomb after the disastrous Thredbo landslide in 1997. During the three-day ordeal the rescuers had little rest or sleep and Paul was seen as going beyond what anyone could expect in giving the sole survivor the best possible care and support during the extrication. The danger was real and imminent. If the concrete slabs had slipped to any significant degree, both men would certainly have perished. Yet even when the site had to be evacuated each time the rubble shifted, Paul would stay below ground to keep Stuart talking and distract him from the predicament. He did this in spite of the risk for himself as it helped the man stay calm and avoided making his condition worse.
Featherstone says he will never forget the grand-final-like roar that rolled down the mountain when the word spread that Diver had been pulled out alive. The crowd of locals that had spent the day mourning the loss of 18 friends, colleagues and loved ones - including Diver's wife, Sally - could now celebrate the sparing of at least one life.
Paul Featherstone is really a unique individual. He has spent the last 30 years perfecting skills in the recovery and care of people in life threatening situations.
Joining the NSW Ambulance Service in 1972, Paul pioneered the Ambulance Service's acclaimed Paramedic system in 1976. He conceived and developed the Special Casualty Access Team (S.C.A.T.) in 1986, and has since been a team leader in developing patient access methods and high levels of care under hostile environments.
Paul's experience positions him as a specialist in situations where lives may be at stake. Situations where perfect planning, quick assessment and responses are critical for the prevention of injury. In situations where injuries have occurred, Paul is skilled and equipped to access, treat, recover and transport injured individuals whether by foot, road, air or sea.
Paul has developed unique training methods in high-risk areas based on "real world" experience, with emphasis on self-motivation and teamwork. Paul's specific skills and experience are from heart attacks in domestic environments to severe multiple victim industrial accidents; and he has been at the forefront of literally thousands of emergency situations.
Twice the recipient of the Ambulance Service's highest award for bravery, the Distinguished Service Medal as well as the Australian Bravery Medal, the Humane Society's bronze, silver and gold medals and the Prince Phillip Helicopter Rescue Award, Paul Featherstone is a man who can be depended on.
In addition to Paul's outstanding career with the NSW Ambulance Service, in recent years he has been in demand to provide specialised services to individuals and corporations. Paul has been personally selected by some of Australia's most high profile individuals and corporations to provide V.I.P. Clinical Management, V.I.P. Body guard and Clinical Support, Major Sporting Functions Clinical Management, Safety Officer for Major Events, Team Building and Leadership courses, and Adventure Training and Survival Courses including Medical Support Team for National ECHO Challenge.
Whether at Thredbo, or with Pat Portlock, pinned by the leg for 10 hours under a teetering crane at Kyeemagh, crawling through the rubble at Granville in 1977, or in boiling seas at Malabar miraculously plucking a fisherman to safety, everything he does is based on intensive and expert training of many years, and on experience which has grown in him an invaluable sixth sense.
Paul talks of such things as the mix of mind, body, spirit and the state of `empty mind' whic
Paul was very well received by the audience. The overall feedback was very positive, and the audience were really touched by his stories and his experiences. Paul also shared with us some basic personal values and how to apply them in all situations, which was well received. Overall Paul was a fantastic speaker and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend him.
- PricewaterhouseCoopers Australia