Boost first-aid knowledge

I am heartened by the discussion between Mr Quan Jian Rong ("Make first aid part of school curriculum"; last Friday) and Wong Yu An ("No need for first aid in school curriculum"; Wednesday), as first aid is a matter which should be of concern to the general community.

At the Singapore Red Cross, we are dedicated to the national goal of having a first aider in every home.

As much as we are served well by a comprehensive network of clinics and hospitals, knowing first aid can save lives and mitigate emergencies.

When a person is first-aid trained, it allows him to intervene at the most critical moments, often making the difference between life and death. And in most cases, the person in need is a family member, friend or colleague.

While there are no robust statistics on the number of people in Singapore who are competent in first-aid skills, anecdotal evidence indicates it is sadly inadequate.

Most people are still solely reliant on the ambulance and medic to arrive and render medical assistance, resulting in crucial minutes lost. Even fairly basic first response can increase the chances of survival, reduce severity of damage to organs, or mitigate serious injuries.

The ageing population in Singapore will throw up more challenges in the community and in individual homes. It is, therefore, important that our young people are equipped with life-saving skills that will benefit society and our loved ones.

Hence, life-saving skills, including first aid, should be a critical part of a holistic Singapore education system.

It will go towards developing well-rounded and responsible young citizens, and a more resilient society in Singapore.

Benjamin William
Secretary-General/Chief Executive Singapore Red Cross

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 17, 2015, with the headline 'Boost first-aid knowledge'. Print Edition | Subscribe