Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 25 September 2020

Day in the life: Health and Safety Solutions founder a real lifesaver in Dubai

As the founder of a Dubai-based health and safety training company, Annie Browne's main mission is to make first-aid training compulsory for nannies across the UAE.
Annie Browne, the founder of Health and Safety Solutions, began her career as a nurse in an accident and emergency ward. Anna Nielsen for The National
Annie Browne, the founder of Health and Safety Solutions, began her career as a nurse in an accident and emergency ward. Anna Nielsen for The National

Annie Browne is the founder of Health and Safety Solutions (HSS) – a Dubai-based training and consultants company. HSS offers first-aid courses for nannies and maids, and health and safety training for businesses. The Briton, 64, began her career as a nurse in accident and emergency, then trained as a teacher and subsequently started her own first aid and safety training company in the UK. After moving to Dubai in 2008, Ms Browne founded HSS in 2011. Ms Browne, who lives in Jebel Ali Village, has pledged to train 500 parents and nannies in first aid by August.


I wake up, have a cup of tea and then walk my dog, Bruno Mars, for 45 minutes. While I walk, I listen to audio books. I’ve always been an avid reader, but sometimes it’s nice to have a story read to you. I recently enjoyed listening to The Chimp Paradox: The Mind Management Program To Help You Achieve Success, Confidence and Happiness by Steve Peters. When I get home, I shower and have breakfast – porridge with condensed milk.


I leave for the office, which is located in Business Bay and has a lovely view of the Burj Khalifa. I have a 10-minute round-up with the team, which is led by one of my instructors. I then check my calendar to see what’s happening this week. I currently employ 10 people, including four trainers and a health and safety specialist.


There’s a training session scheduled in the office, so the attendees start to arrive. Sometimes I lead the sessions, which I love; it’s important for the team to see how I train. When I first came to Dubai I landed a job as a health and safety consultant with Fitness First. In 2011, I started HSS and I’m proud of the work we’ve done. We’re raising the level of first-aid training in the UAE to a standard I’m really happy with. In the past three years, students of ours have resuscitated 12 people.


If I’m not training, I head out to meet clients. Recently I’ve met teachers and headmasters at schools. I’ve developed a new programme called For Future Doctors, Nurses and Paramedics, and I’m hoping to bring this into schools to teach children first aid, from five-year-olds right through to school leavers.


I attend a mums’ group at BabySenses in JLT to talk about first-aid training for parents, maids and nannies. I also put together little workshops to teach them an element of first aid, such as how to deal with choking. Through attending these groups, I came up with the idea to train 200 maids in a first-aid training event in Dubai. We’re still in the planning stages, but I want the nannies and maids to attend for free. There will be 12 stations with instructors, and the attendees will move around and be trained on each first-aid element. At the end they’ll be tested and if they pass, they’ll obtain a qualification. My mission is to raise awareness – first-aid training should be compulsory for maids and nannies who want to work with kids. It costs Dh350 to train a nanny – less than the cost of an evening out.


I meet up with a team from Fitness First for lunch. I still do fire drill training and health and safety audits at the company’s ladies’ clubs.


Back at the office, I check emails; I try to do this only twice a day. I then have a final meeting with the team to wrap up the afternoon. The best part of my job is seeing people’s reaction when I teach CPR to Flo Rida’s song Low – it helps students get the compressions done at the right pace, depth and rate. One gentleman I trained told me that thinking about the song kept him focused when he was resuscitating someone. I believe if you get the serious messages across in a fun way, people learn better. I also enjoy our events with medics – we go on site at various sports events and on movie sets to deliver first-aid treatment and care for people. Some movies we’ve worked on include Furious 7 and Star Wars. I had the privilege of looking after six Stormtroopers in 49-degree heat – I’m pleased to say that not one went down with dehydration or heat exhaustion.


I arrive home, feed the dog and go for another walk. I also visit my son and his wife, as they live just around the corner. We have a cup of tea together and catch up on family time. I’m very close to my family. I have three sons in total – another living in Dubai and one in England.


I make a bowl of home-made soup for dinner, then chill out and watch a movie.


I go to sleep. My dog loves to wake me up at 7am on the dot every morning, so an early night is necessary. I also have two cats – Holly and Marley – that I rescued in Al Rashidiya.


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Updated: June 4, 2016 04:00 AM

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