Are you prepared for an emergency? Basic first aid and firefighting are two useful skills to have. While most of our articles related to lifestyle this is also self-care: for the acute rather than the chronic. What would you do if you witness a heart attack or are in a mass casualty situation? Could you assist? We were recently notified through the neighbourhood grapevine that a Community Emergency Preparedness Training session was available to us. So, along with some friends, we signed up.
Two online classes were followed by an in-person training session with a dozen other local residents. The online sessions, 10 and 20 minutes in length, were mainly filled with facts on what to do during and after a terrorist incident. They included videos on first aid techniques, fire scenarios and how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED).
The onsite session, lasting a couple of hours, was competently delivered by the SCDF - Singapore’s fire department. We applied tourniquets to our partners, Heimlich manoeuvred them, practised CPR on dummies, ‘zapped’ them with an AED and got to put out a fire with an extinguisher. Not bad for a Saturday morning, we completed our Tier 1 and 2 training. We will join the Tier 3 training when it becomes available.
The instructors also advised us on local community response to medical emergencies. The use of the myResponder app that alert residents to people in the neighbourhood having heart attacks, where the nearest AEDs are located. It even can alert for small fires, say in a bin, that can be extinguished locally rather than a fire truck being deployed. On a citywide basis some taxis have AEDs, the drivers on standby to respond to emergencies when notified by the app.
We enjoyed the training. Some of it we knew, some was new, some of the procedures had been updated since our last training. Refreshing our skills and learning new ones was rewarding. Singapore, as a nation, invests in its major resource - its people. These ground up activities also pay dividends for community and nation building.
Are you prepared for an emergency, at home or on the street? Calling the emergency services to get them involved is potentially the most important first step. After that do you have the skills to assist further? Consider what training you might be able to get. First aid courses are often available, perhaps through work or your local community centre. Does your fire department provide training? One never knows when things might go wrong but at least one can be prepared.
Question. When was the last time you checked your first-aid box? Do you have plasters (of different sizes), antiseptic? What about a kitchen fire, how would you deal with it?
Felicia and Alastair
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Singapore SCDF Resources
Organisations that provide first aid training (in Singapore) and operate globally: