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Newbury Firefighter Receives Top Lifesaving Award for Saving a Child From Drowning

Oliver Parker, a firefighter from Newbury has been awarded a national lifesaving award, after he courageously helped save the life of a two-year old girl whilst on a family holiday earlier this year. Awarded by STA, the Roll of Honour is the charity’s highest accolade and recognises outstanding commitment towards safety and lifesaving.

Oliver (aged 33) was on holiday in Dubai with his pregnant wife and two young daughters when he spotted a 2-year old girl named Erin unconscious in the pool. When the little girl’s dad dragged her out of the pool she was blue head to toe, but thanks to Oliver’s quick thinking and actions he began CPR and after three minutes Erin’s eyes opened and she took a deep breath. Oliver then insisted she go to hospital to be checked over in case of secondary drowning. Thankfully, Erin did fully recover and spent the last few days of her holiday playing as if nothing had happened.

Oliver said: At the time, in that split second it was like everyone around the pool froze in time, in shock. I’m not sure if it was my fire service training or the fact of being a dad that made me react so quickly, but it did really bring home to me that ‘knowing’ what to do in an emergency and ‘actually’ doing it are two totally different things.

I was amazed by how quickly a person can react to CPR and the immediate positive effects. It will be a day I will never forget, and I was so pleased to see Erin when she returned from hospital playing as normal, said Oliver.

Thanks to Oliver, not only did he save this little girl’s life, he has also inspired friends and family to seek out first aid training and learn CPR.

Oliver said: I’ve been really surprised with the response to this story and I’m very proud to be recognised by STA with a Roll of Honour. If by sharing this story, which can truly happen to anyone, and showing the importance of CPR training and the immediate positive effects it can have on saving on a life, then great, there have been two positive outcomes.

The Roll of Honour is STA’s highest accolade and recognises outstanding commitment towards safety and lifesaving.

It is only the eighth time in 17 years that the Roll of Honour has been awarded by STA – demonstrating Oliver’s exceptional lifesaving achievement said Richard Timms, President of the STA, who presented the award to Oliver on Saturday 6th May.

Richard said: I’m personally very proud to honour Oliver on behalf of STA. As he rightly said; faced with a terrifying split-second situation like this, especially with a child, panic can set in for even the bravest. But thankfully Oliver didn’t panic, and his quick thinking and actions that day saved this young girl’s life.

We have also been equally touched by the ripple-effect of this story with Oliver inspiring others to get CPR training – a vital lifesaving skill that we believe everyone should learn. Oliver is fully-deserving of this honour, confirmed Richard.

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