Mull couple’s first aid efforts win top award
Outstanding work to bring training to remote communities
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.