SINGAPORE: Australian couple Roger and Jennifer Valenta will probably never forget their 25th wedding anniversary holiday.
In Singapore for a week-long trip, they were relaxing by the pool at Amara Sanctuary Resort Sentosa on Sunday (Apr 28) when Mr Valenta heard a scream for help coming from the other end of the pool.
"As soon as we heard the scream we ran towards the father," he said.
The father of the seven-year-old child had found his son drowning in the pool and pulled him out.
"When we reached the young boy we noticed he was unconscious, he was blue in the face. Both the father and mother of the child were panicking," Mr Valenta said.
That was when Mrs Valenta's instinct as a paediatric nurse kicked in.
Noticing that the boy was not breathing, she pressed her finger on the boy's neck, feeling for a pulse. Nothing.
She then checked to make sure his throat was clear of obstruction and instructed her husband to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on him.
During the chaos, the couple called out to the boy's parents and resort staff to call for an ambulance while they continued to perform CPR on the boy. The boy and his parents have not been named.
Mr Valenta's chest compressions caused the boy to expel water and before the ambulance arrived, the boy's pulse had returned and he started breathing.
It was the first time Mr Valenta, 55, had to apply his first-aid knowledge on a person. Mr Valenta, who works in the construction sector, explained that first-aid training is important in his line of work.
Mrs Valenta, 52, who has been working in the healthcare sector for 30 years said that she has "dealt with near drownings before and it was so scary".
"I wasn't sure how long he'd been under the water for," she said.
For their heroic act, Mr and Mrs Valenta were awarded the Community Lifesaver Award by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) on Friday at the Sentosa Fire Station.
It was an unexpected but pleasant addition on their itinerary for the couple, who were flying home to Sydney on Friday night.
Presenting the awards to the couple, 1st SCDF Division Commander, Colonel Lim Boon Hwee said this incident shows how crucial it is for the community to be prepared to render first-aid.
He added that there are times when a person's life can be saved before the paramedics arrive.
The SCDF encouraged those who are interested in playing a more active part in saving lives to register themselves as community first responders on SCDF's myResponder app, which alerts its users to nearby emergency cases they can attend to.