Forum: Risk management measures in place to protect community first responders

We refer to Dr Dana Elliott Srither's letter (Review activation of community first responders, July 27).

Community first responders (CFRs) have made the difference between life and death on many occasions through their timely response and intervention, particularly for cardiac arrest victims.

In early February, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) suspended the activation of CFRs via the MyResponder app due to the high risk of Covid-19 community transmission then.

The activation of CFRs resumed on July 1, as the number of cases in the community had decreased.

This decision was made in consultation with the Ministry of Health's Unit for Pre-Hospital Emergency Care, and the Singapore Resuscitation and First Aid Council (SRFAC).

Nevertheless, as a precautionary measure, CFRs are not activated for cases triaged by SCDF's 995 Operations Centre to be at high risk of being a Covid-19 case.

Additional risk management measures are also in place to protect CFRs. For example, when CFRs respond to cases, an in-app notification alerts them of an advisory from SRFAC, that the administering of high quality chest compressions without mouth-to-mouth ventilation is effective enough.

The advisory also recommends that CFRs wear masks (and gloves, if available) and clean their hands thoroughly as soon as possible after they have responded to the incident.

SCDF would like to thank all CFRs who continue to step forward during these times, and is committed to ensure their safety and well-being.

Shalini Arulanandam (Col) (Dr)

Chief Medical Officer

Singapore Civil Defence Force

Yazid Abdullah (AC)

Director, Volunteer and Community Partnership Department

Singapore Civil Defence Force