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Young girl saved thanks to swift response of St John Ambulance Cymru Trainer

A St John Ambulance Cymru Commercial Trainer used CPR to save a young girl’s life after responding to a call for help that happened to come from the same Cardiff hotel he was staying in.

Although he lives and works in North Wales, Rory Jones was visiting the capital city to complete an assessment so he could deliver Mental Health First Aid training on behalf of the charity.

As well as working at St John Ambulance Cymru’s Abergele Training Centre, Rory is a Community First Responder and volunteers with the Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust. He is also registered with GoodSAM, the UK’s cardiac arrest alerting system, which is how he was notified of the emergency on that morning in December 2023.

Rory was asleep in his hotel when he received the GoodSAM alert at around 5.45am. He quickly got dressed and was making his way out of the hotel when he realised the alert was coming from the same building, on behalf of someone staying on the floor below him.

He said: “When I got to the room, I saw a little girl of about 4 or 5 years old lying on the floor and her parents were on the phone to the Ambulance Service. I assessed her and noticed she wasn’t breathing, so I immediately began CPR and started delivering rescue breaths. Thankfully, after one round of CPR she started breathing again.”

Rory stayed with the girl and her family until the ambulance arrived, reassessing her, putting a duvet around her as she was now able to respond to say she was cold and encouraging her parents to reassure her.

“I completed the assessment with the emergency call handler and although I was confident in what I was doing, it was great to have that reassuring voice on the phone.”

Although Rory left the scene once the ambulance arrived, he has since heard that the girl had returned home safely after a few days in hospital.

Having joined St John Ambulance Cymru in March 2022 with no formal training, Rory is now qualified to train people on a range of different first aid courses, including Paediatric First Aid.

Rory said: “It was the first time I’ve performed CPR on a child in a real-life scenario, but within a few days of the incident I was teaching other people how to do it.

“I would recommend this training for anyone who works with or volunteers with children, whether it’s a football club or similar group, as paediatric first aid is a bit different.

“It’s also really important to keep up to date with your qualifications. St John Ambulance Cymru offers refresher courses every three years but some people prefer to complete a refresher every year.”

Rory also highlighted the importance of the GoodSAM alerting system, which had helped him arrive at the scene and administer CPR promptly.

“GoodSAM helps reduce pressure on the ambulance service and is a great first port of call as every minute counts, especially when it comes to cardiac or respiratory arrest. Every minute reduces a child’s chances of survival by 10%.”

Rory also said he had previously responded to one other GoodSAM alert closer to home and had successfully administered CPR to an adult on that occasion.

Rory, who is 26 years old and lives in Llanrwst is hoping to go to University in September to study Paramedic Science.

He added: “You don’t have to have a PHD in CPR, anyone can learn and I’d encourage anyone that has the relevant training to sign-up to GoodSAM.”

To find out more about the training courses St John Ambulance Cymru visit www.sjacymru.org.uk/training.

To find out more about GoodSAM visit https://www.goodsamapp.org/ukAndEu

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