Mull cou­ple’s first aid ef­forts win top award

Out­stand­ing work to bring train­ing to re­mote com­mu­ni­ties

The Oban Times - - NEWS -

A young hus­band and wife from the Isle of Mull were recog­nised at a first aid awards cer­e­mony in Glas­gow on Fri­day Novem­ber 23 for their out­stand­ing ef­forts to bring first aid to their lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties.

Alec, 29, and Kayleigh Brown, 26, re­ceived the Dou­glas Brem­ner Spe­cial Com­men­da­tion Award at the St An­drew’s First Aid Scot­tish First Aid Awards, as a re­sult of their pos­i­tive and suc­cess­ful drive to en­cour­age mem­bers of their com­mu­nity to learn life-sav­ing first aid skills.

Alec had been taught first aid after at­tend­ing a free train­ing ses­sion de­liv­ered by St An­drew’s First Aid in Oban in Jan­uary this year. Just a few weeks later he had to put his skills into prac­tice when his eight-month-old baby Ruar­idh stopped breath­ing and turned blue while sit­ting in his high chair.

Thank­fully, through Alec’s recog­ni­tion of the sit­u­a­tion, swift ac­tions and first aid train­ing, he was able to save his son’s life us­ing the in­fant CPR skills he had learned at the de­mon­stra­tion.

Fol­low­ing the in­ci­dent, Kayleigh was de­ter­mined more peo­ple on the is­land should have the op­por­tu­nity to learn first aid.

Liv­ing in a re­mote com­mu­nity where emer­gency ser­vices can take time to reach a lo­ca­tion, hav­ing first aid skills could be the dif­fer­ence be­tween life and life lost. She con­tacted St An­drew’s First Aid to ask if they would go to Mull to de­liver a se­ries of demon­stra­tions. She then ral­lied her com­mu­nity, booked a hall and used var­i­ous com­mu­ni­ca­tions plat­forms to let peo­ple know and in­vite them along.

More than 100 peo­ple at­tended the ses­sions, which also raised more than £1,300 for three char­i­ties in­clud­ing St An­drew’s First Aid.

Stu­art Cal­li­son, chief ex­ec­u­tive of St An­drew’s First Aid, said: ‘The Browns are a credit to their fam­ily, their com­mu­nity and to us. Their recog­ni­tion that first aid is a vi­tal skill to have was so clearly shown when faced with their own dis­tress­ing sit­u­a­tion. Kayeigh’s pas­sion for first aid and de­ter­mi­na­tion that oth­ers should have the op­por­tu­nity to learn how to save a life has re­ally paid off and there are now more than 100 peo­ple liv­ing in lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties on Mull, who can come to some­one’s aid should they need it.

‘Their ef­forts to pro­tect and ed­u­cate their com­mu­nity are noth­ing short of in­spir­ing and they are very wor­thy win­ners of the Dou­glas Brem­ner Spe­cial Com­men­da­tion Award.’

Alec Brown said: ‘When Ruar­idh stopped breath­ing, I went into au­topi­lot and re­mem­bered what I had been taught. I checked to see if he was chok­ing then checked his air­way be­fore be­gin­ning CPR. It felt like half an hour be­fore be started breath­ing again but I sus­pect it was only a minute.

‘I’m just so glad I made the ef­fort to go to the de­mon­stra­tion. The am­bu­lance ar­rived after 20 min­utes but had I not known what to do, the end­ing could have been very dif­fer­ent. I can’t rec­om­mend strongly enough that peo­ple take the time to learn how to do even ba­sic first aid. Many of the ses­sions are free and it could lit­er­ally be the dif­fer­ence be­tween life and death.’

Kayleigh Brown said: ‘We are de­lighted to have won this award. I can’t talk enough about the im­por­tance of learn­ing first aid and the fact you can do it for free means there should be no ex­cuse not to.

‘The thank­fully pos­i­tive out­come of our own ex­pe­ri­ence was enough to spur me into ac­tion and I am re­ally happy with how many peo­ple turned out on the day. I hope to con­tinue work­ing with St An­drew’s to en­cour­age even more peo­ple to be­come first aid ready.’

‘When Ruar­idh stopped breath­ing, I went into au­topi­lot and re­mem­bered what I had been taught.’

Alec and Kayleigh pick up their award.

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