Tuesday, 01 December 2015

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Cumbrian army cadets use first aid training to save dad and pupil

A dad has praised his “amazing” son after he sprung into action when he suffered a heart attack.

Nick Cross, from Aspatria, is one of two quick-thinking army cadets to receive national recognition after using their first aid skills to come to the rescue of those in need.

Cadet Corporals Toni Coupland, 15, of Carlisle, and 16-year-old Nick were each awarded the St John’s Ambulance First Aid Certificate for potentially saving the lives of those they helped.

Both members of the Cumbria Army Cadet Force, the teenagers used their training to help when confronted with real life emergencies.

In Nick’s case it was his own dad who needed him, when he had a heart attack at the family home last July.

He said: “On the last day of summer term my sister called me and said that our dad wasn’t well. It was about a mile from school to home but I ran the whole way back.

“When I got there I found my dad was having breathing problems and he said he had shooting pains down his left arm. He’d put himself in the recovery position but I knew from my army cadet training that it wasn’t right.

“If someone has a suspected heart attack they need to be in the ‘W’ position with their knees propped up. I got him into it and told my mum to call for an ambulance. I didn’t say that I suspected he was having a heart attack as I didn’t want her or my sister to start panicking. I kept talking to dad until the ambulance came and I briefed the paramedics.

“It’s quite a responsibility when it’s your dad lying there on the floor but the first aid training and the leadership skills I have gained helped me to stay calm.”

Tony, who turned 50 less than a week after the incident, recalled: “The doctors said I had suffered a substantial heart attack.

“Nick ran a good mile from the top of Aspatria down to the house and then took control of the situation. He was so calm.”

Reflecting on his son’s award, he added: “Nick is an amazing lad: he was unbelievably controlled.”

As well as securing national recognition, the cadets have received high praise from their local commanders.

Sergeant Instructor Jamie Bell, detachment commander in Aspatria, said: “We were so relieved that Cpl Cross made such a difference to his father’s situation.

“When they got him to hospital the cardiologists said that thanks to his quick-thinking and knowledge of first aid there was no long-term damage to his heart and he is now well on the way to recovery.”

The second teenager, Toni, helped a fellow pupil following an incident on her school playing fields last June.

She said: “Someone told me one of the boys wasn’t very well and when I turned round I saw this lad Adam, from Year 10, lying on the ground. He was very pale, slurring his words and shaking violently, with his eyes rolled up into the back of his head.

“The dinner ladies didn’t know what to do so I took charge, sent someone to get the nurse and summoned an ambulance. I then cleared the crowd away from him and put him into the recovery position while making sure that he was breathing okay.

“It took about 15 minutes for the ambulance to arrive, by which time his shaking had slowed down and he was gaining consciousness again. I briefed the paramedics and handed over to them. Thanks to my training, I felt confident in taking control and dealing with the situation.”

Second Lieutenant Guy DuTracy, detachment commander in Harraby, Carlisle, added: “We’re very proud that Cpl Coupland has received this award. Cadets at Harraby Detachment now realise how vital the first aid training is.”


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