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From friendly skies to lifesaving highs

Cabin crew-turned-volunteer emergency medical technician (EMT) Nur Aishah Binte Mohamed Roslan shares the defining moments that reshaped her career and ignited her passion for saving lives.

Cabin crew-turned-volunteer Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Nur Aishah Binte Mohamed Roslan shares the defining moments that reshaped her career and ignited her passion for saving lives.


You may recall the widely-reported story of a cabin crew who saved the life of a cardiac arrest victim at Yew Tee Point. Meet the protagonist of that tale: Ms Nur Aishah Binte Mohamed Roslan.

Following this pivotal event, she embarked on a profound career shift, transitioning from the aviation sector to become a clinic assistant while concurrently volunteering as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with the Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit (CDAU)

Rescue995* met up with SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah to delve into the experiences that ignited her passion for volunteering with the CDAU.

“I was a cabin crew at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. As the number of international flights were greatly reduced, I was seconded to Yew Tee Point as a customer service officer,” recalls SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah.

One day, while working at the concierge, she was alerted to a medical emergency, where an elderly cleaner had fainted in the toilet. “When I found him unresponsive, without any pulse and not breathing, I immediately commenced cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and requested the mall’s security officer to fetch an automated external defibrillator (AED),” she shares.

SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah’s prompt intervention – along with the security officer’s assistance – proved instrumental in reviving the cleaner. “When the SCDF paramedic later told me that our swift intervention had saved the man’s life, I felt so relieved and was moved to the brink of tears,” she says.

In recognition of her decisive actions that day, SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah received several accolades: the Community First Responder Award from SCDF in September 2020, the CEO Service Excellence Awards from Singapore Airlines in 2021, as well as the Minister for Home Affairs National Day Award in August 2021. More importantly, the incident solidified her determination to chart a new career trajectory.

SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah receiving the Community First Responder Award from SCDF in September 2020.

Following the incident, SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah continued as a cabin crew for two more years, before taking a leap of faith by pursuing a new career as a clinic assistant. This move may have surprised many of her colleagues and loved ones, but for her, the calling to save lives and serve the community had become her newfound purpose. At the same time, SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah joined the CDAU as a volunteer, undergoing the Emergency Medical Technician Course conducted by the SCDF. She had initially contemplated a full-time career with the SCDF, but decided not to as she was happy with her current work-life arrangements.  

SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah expresses gratitude towards her workplace for fostering a supportive environment, facilitating her commitment to CDAU duties on her days off. “I can undertake full-day duties, which allow me to contribute more to every shift,” she adds.

Reflecting on her experiences at Changi Fire Station, SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah acknowledges the unique challenges and responsibilities encountered. During medical incidents, there is significant scrutiny from the public, with bystanders taking photos and videos of SCDF officers in action. Although this adds an additional layer of pressure, responding crews need to remain focused on patient care, and maintain their composure and professionalism despite surrounding distractions.

She recalls an incident in which she exercised her soft skills to gain the cooperation of a patient: “An elderly man had broken his teeth in a fall,” she recounts. “However, he was extremely resistant to seeking treatment at the hospital. Ignoring the clicking of cameras from bystanders, I sat with him, held his hands and told him gently, ‘Uncle, you are 75 years old, and your blood pressure is very high – therefore, I cannot leave you alone. I am sure your daughter would not want you to be left alone.’ He looked at me, relented and agreed to be conveyed to the hospital.” 

Played out under the watchful eyes of the public, this incident is a testament to the soft skills of empathy and tact that SCDF EMS officers are required to possess.

SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah on duty at Changi Fire Station.

“As CDAU volunteers, our uniform is almost identical to that of regular officers and NSFs, bearing the same EMT tab. Therefore, when I wear my uniform, I represent not only SCDF and CDAU, but also my personal values as a volunteer. It is a symbol of my commitment to saving lives,” says SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah. 

Her stint with the CDAU has also unexpectedly enriched her duties as a clinic assistant. During her EMT training, she had learnt to perform the Patient Assessment Model, which now comes in handy in her daily work at the clinic, allowing her to swiftly evaluate patients and provide important information to the attending physician.

SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah is a firm believer in the community’s role in emergency response and preparedness. She advocates the importance of basic community intervention, emphasising that the public’s actions – such as checking on someone who has fainted and calling 995 for emergencies – can help save lives.

“Never let your doubts stop you from helping during an emergency,” she urges. “The AED comes with easy instructions for use, even if you don’t have formal training. Moreover, when you call 995, SCDF’s operations centre specialists will provide instructions over the phone, guiding you on how to help the patient until SCDF arrives.”

SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah’s fulfilling journey as a CDAU EMT is evidence of her unwavering passion for service. She hopes that her story will inspire others to play an active role in emergency response and community healthcare, irrespective of their backgrounds.

*This story has been edited from an interview that was originally published in SCDF’s digital magazine, Rescue995.

Interested in serving beyond your obligations? Consider the Volunteer Extension Scheme, which allows PNSMen who have completed their NS liability to continue serving beyond their statutory age. PNSMen (With NS liability) who have passed their statutory age of 40 years (Junior Officers) & 50 years (Senior Officers) may apply.

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15th March 2024
12:21 PM

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