22 November 2012
For further information: Katy Taylor-Gooby
Contact number: 0207 877 7463 / 07921 493560
Southwalk heroine saves life with first aid skills
South Londoner Melody Fears is urging people to learn first aid after she saved the life of a man who collapsed. The 38-year-old, who lives near the Bricklayer’s Arms, had taken a one-day first aid course with the British Red Cross in the summer, so when a she found herself within feet of a dramatic emergency, she knew exactly what to do.
“I was on holiday in Inverness, Scotland at the end of October,” she recalls. “I had just come out of a supermarket and was walking across a busy car park when a man collapsed just behind me. I could immediately see that the situation was serious. The man was quickly turning purple and I could hear that his breathing was very faint.”
Melody says she didn’t panic, but felt very calm and in control, thanks to her training. “I explained that I was a trained first aider, and loosened the man’s clothing around his neck before putting him into the recovery position,” she says. “People were starting to gather and one of them lent me her jacket to put under his head, while I asked another to call an ambulance.
Things then took a turn for the worse, and the man stopped breathing. “I was keeping a close eye on him and realised as soon as his breathing stopped,” says Melody. “Fortunately another bystander, who worked as a firefighter, also knew first aid, so he and I turned the man onto his back and began CPR. I had learned from my recent course that rescue breaths were not at important as chest compressions, so we decided to focus on his heart.
“We did two rounds of chest compressions each, with the woman who had called the ambulance keeping them informed, and then the man coughed and spluttered, and started to breathe again. This is fairly unusual with CPR but very welcome, so we put him back in the recovery position.
“It can only have been couple more minutes until the ambulance arrived, but it felt like a lifetime. The man arrested again just as the ambulance arrived, but they used their defibrillators to revive him and sped off to hospital.”
Once the patient had been passed over to the professionals, Melody had the opportunity to take the incident in.
“When the adrenaline subsided, the shock of the situation kicked in,” she remembers. “I remembered the man’s face clearly, and having lost my father not long before, I was quite upset. Then I thought about what might have happened if I hadn’t been there at the right time, or if I hadn’t had the skills or confidence to help.
“I’m so glad now that I was there, and in a position to get him breathing again for those crucial few minutes. I knew exactly what to do, which is a direct result of my first aid training.
Melody continues: “I have long felt that first aid is a really valuable skill, but now I’m advising everyone around me to do the training themselves. My story shows that you never know when you might need first aid skills, and I think it would be so awful to feel helpless in an emergency and wish you knew what to do. It could easily be your own family or friends who need your help so I would strongly advise everyone to get at least basic first aid training.
“The Red Cross course was great and gave us very relevant, practical skills. First aid is simple but learning exactly what to do means you have the confidence to help when someone needs you.”
The Red Cross runs first aid courses all over London, including at our London Bridge base. To find a course near you, please see
or call 0844 871 8000.
For more information on the British Red Cross please visit: http://www.redcross.org.uk
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Notes to editors
The British Red Cross helps people in crisis, whoever and wherever they are. We are part of a global voluntary network, responding to conflicts, natural disasters and individual emergencies.
We enable vulnerable people in the UK and abroad to prepare for and withstand emergencies in their own communities. And when the crisis is over, we help them to recover and move on with their lives.