Off-duty firefighters from Colwood and Langford worked together to save the life of a man who was suffering a heart attack Tuesday night.

The dramatic rescue unfolded during a Victoria Shamrocks lacrosse game at the Q Centre in Colwood.

According to Colwood Fire Chief John Cassidy, two off-duty firefighters — career member Craig Twidale and long-time volunteer Pat Seward — were working security at the game when one man suffered a heart attack.

"Apparently it happened almost right in front of one of them," said Cassidy.

The two firefighters started to perform CPR on the man, catching the attention of Langford's off-duty fire chief who was also watching the game, Cassidy said.

While the trio performed chest compressions, a Q Centre staff member brought over an automated external defibrillator (AED). The AED and CPR were enough to keep the man breathing and his pulse pumping until an ambulance arrived and paramedics took over.

"Larger public venues are now putting AEDs in there for the public to use and it actually makes a difference," said Cassidy. "[It's] fortunate that there was three experienced firefighters in ready proximity. That made a difference along with the AED."

The fire chief added that the dramatic incident is a good opportunity to encourage the community to brush up on first aid training.

"I personally believe that there's three things everyone should know in life for their safety and the safety of those around them," said Cassidy.

"Everyone should know how to use CPR, everyone should know how to use a fire extinguisher and everyone should take a basic first aid course. All three of those things is, I have found, everyone will run into at least once in their life."