AS A naval reservist of 25 years, Warrant Officer Elaine Grist is prepared for anything, whether she is in a warzone or a shopping centre.
So she didn’t hesitate to leap into action when a woman fell down an escalator in front of her recruitment stand last week.
The 47-year-old nurse was at Gunwharf Quays with other reservists trying to recruit more people to the force.
While handing out leaflets, she saw the woman fall down the escalator outside the Vue cinema and immediately ran to help.
WO Grist, who is a reservist with the Portsmouth-based unit HMS King Alfred, said: ‘We were standing there giving people leaflets when I looked towards the escalator and saw somebody lying horizontal on it.
‘I thought that wasn’t right and when I looked closer I could see it was a woman and she was falling down the steps as the escalator was still going.
‘I jumped off the stand and threw my hat at the officer behind me.
‘I stopped the lift and Matt Withers, one of the Royal Marines, was already at the top so we helped the woman up.’
WO Grist’s 25 years as a Royal Navy Reservist have seen her deployed in Iraq and twice in Afghanistan.
Her husband, Lt Cdr David Grist, is also a navy reservist medic.
Last week, navy reservists were on a recruitment campaign at Gunwharf Quays, Portsmouth and Southsea railway station, Chichester railway station and the Mountbatten Leisure Centre.
It comes as part of the government’s Future Reserves Forces plan, which aims to see 3,100 trained Royal Navy and Royal Marine reserves by 2015.
The government wants to increase reliance on the reserve forces while cutting the number of regular servicemen and women.
WO Grist added: ‘I’ve been a reservist for 25 years and it’s a great way of life. You have things to do and new people to meet and plenty of challenges.’