From Cabin Crew to Volunteer Lifesaver

January 31, 2024

You may recall the widely reported story of a cabin crew who saved the life of a cardiac arrest victim at Yew Tee Point. She is none other than Ms Nur Aishah Binte Mohamed Roslan. After the incident, she was inspired to make the move from her aviation career to become a clinic assistant, and at the same time, volunteering as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) with the Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit (CDAU)

Rescue995 met up with SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah to find out more about the experiences that ignited her passion to volunteer with the CDAU.


SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah Binte Mohamed RoslanSGT1 (V) Nur Aishah Binte Mohamed Roslan is always ready to save lives and serve the community. PHOTO: SCDF/Thomas Lim


“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,” SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah recalled.

“One day, while working at the concierge, I was alerted to a medical emergency, where an elderly cleaner had fainted in the toilet. When I found the cleaner totally unresponsive, without any pulse and breathing, I immediately commenced Cardio-pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and requested the mall’s security officer to fetch an Automated External Defibrillator (AED).” 

The prompt intervention by SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah and the security officer proved to be crucial in helping to revive the cleaner. “When the SCDF paramedic came up to me and said that our swift intervention had saved the man’s life, I felt so relieved and was moved to the brink of tears,” said SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah.

For SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah’s quick thinking on that day, she received a few awards: the Community First Responder Award from SCDF in September 2020, the CEO Service Excellence Awards from Singapore Airlines in 2021, and the Minister for Home Affairs National Day Award in August 2021. More importantly, the incident steeled her resolve to embark on a new career track.

SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah was awarded the Community First Responder Award from SCDF in 2021SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah received the Community First Responder Award from SCDF in September 2020. PHOTO: SCDF


After 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 career move surprised many of her colleagues and loved ones. However, the calling to save lives and contribute to the community had become the newfound purpose for SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah. At the same time, she also joined the CDAU as a volunteer, undergoing Emergency Medical Technician Course conducted by the SCDF. SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah had initially contemplated a full-time career with the SCDF, but decided not to as she was happy with the current work-life arrangements.  

SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah is thankful to her clinic for the supportive work environment, which makes it easier for her to dedicate her off days to CDAU duties. “I can go for full-day duties, which allow me to contribute more to every shift,” she said.

SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah also shared about her experiences at Changi Fire Station, where she faced some unique challenges and responsibilities. During medical incidents, there is significant scrutiny from the public, with numerous bystanders taking photos and videos of SCDF officers in action. Although this adds an additional layer of pressure, the responding crews must not be distracted and must maintain their composure and professionalism, always focusing on patient care. 

SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah recalls an incident in which she exercised her soft skills to secure the cooperation of a patient. “An elderly man had broken his teeth in a fall. However, he was extremely resistant to seeking treatment at the hospital, despite his injuries. Ignoring the clicking of cameras from bystanders, I sat with the man, held his hands, and spoke to 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.’ The  elderly man looked at me, relented and agreed to be conveyed to the hospital.” 

This incident, played out under the watchful eyes of the public, is testament to the soft skills and tact of SCDF EMS officers at work.


SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah on duty at Changi Fire StationSGT1 (V) Nur Aishah on duty at Changi Fire Station. PHOTO: SCDF/Thomas Lim


“As CDAU volunteers, our uniform is almost entirely 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,” said SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah.

SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah’s experience with the CDAU has unexpectedly paid off in her daily work as a clinic assistant. During her EMT training, she had learned to perform the Patient Assessment Model. This has come in useful in her daily work at the clinic, allowing her to quickly evaluate patients and provide important information to the doctor before consultation.

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

“Never let your doubts stop you from helping during an emergency. The AED comes with instructions for easy use, even for those without formal training. Moreover, when you call the 995 emergency line, SCDF’s Operations Centre Specialists can provide instructions over the phone, guiding you on how to help the patient until SCDF arrives,” SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah remarked.

SGT1 (V) Nur Aishah's journey as a CDAU EMT has been fulfilling, thanks to her passion to serve. She hopes that everyone can be inspired to play an active role in emergency response and community healthcare, regardless of their background.


Inspired to make a difference as a CDAU volunteer? Find out more from the links below!