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As it happened

School students save the life of a man who had a heart attack

Teenagers who promptly provided first aid, – Sander Aavik (left to right), Henry Magnus Roks and Kaspar Parksepp, at Kasteheina bus stop in Ihaste. PHOTO: Kristjan Teedema/Scanpix
Teenagers who promptly provided first aid, – Sander Aavik (left to right), Henry Magnus Roks and Kaspar Parksepp, at Kasteheina bus stop in Ihaste. PHOTO: Kristjan Teedema/Scanpix

In July 2017, schoolchildren’s prompt, knowledgeable and confident actions saved the life of a man who had collapsed at the bus stop. On their way to the shopping centre, teenagers noticed an elderly man fall on the ground at the bus stop. Although frightened, 13-year-old Henry Magnus Roks, Sander Aavik, Margot Sula and Kaspar Parksepp walked to him, turned the man on his side, put a bag under his head and set to work. One of the boys called the emergency line, where the operator advised them to try and move the man to the lawn from the pavement, but he was too heavy. Waiting for the ambulance to arrive, the kids did not just stand by but laid the man on his back, and Sander Aavik started doing chest compressions.

“We learned first aid and CPR at school. Rescue workers taught us what to do in case of an accident,” one of the brave teenagers, Sander Aavik, said to Tartu Postimees newspaper. “I did what we were taught at school, pushed the man’s chest down at regular intervals.” The paramedics who arrived in some five-six minutes continued resuscitation, and the man’s life was saved by joint effort.

The teenagers’ life-saving actions received public recognition, including acknowledgement and commendation from President Kersti Kaljulaid.

We can easily find ourselves in an unexpected situation when someone we know, or a complete stranger could need resuscitation. Calling for an ambulance is the first thing to do, but first aid skills can also be of critical importance. It is too often that people ignore others who need help, dismissing someone lying on the ground as a drunkard who just has to ‘sleep it off’. However, such biased attitude may cost a person his or her life. Anyone who is obviously in distress needs immediate attention and help regardless of social status. The most important step in such case is to call for an ambulance, but it might not be enough to save a life. It is worth learning first aid skills, even at a young age.

What to do in a crisis

Every state does whatever it can to prevent or respond to crisis situations. Still, help will not always reach all people quickly enough because some crises can affect a large part of the population and last for days or even weeks.

Until help arrives and services are resumed, your welfare and that of your loved ones will largely depend on your own preparedness.

The web page “Kriis.ee” contains tips on how to get prepared for various types of crisis situations and what to do if there actually is one.

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