Geylang Serai gets women first responders

A group of housewives in Geylang Serai have been equipped with skills to be first responders in an emergency. The women, mostly aged between 40 and 50, have been given lessons on first aid, how to put out small fires and perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

Called the Geylang Serai Ladies Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), the 50-strong groupgot its first taste of an emergency last month in a simulated explosion at Haig Road food centre. The women rescued the injured, bandaged wounds and evacuated the area, skills acquired in a one-day safety and security course conducted by police and civil defence officers.

The group, formed last month to coincide with International Women's Day, is an example of the "resident-serving-resident" model in Geylang Serai, said Associate Professor Fatimah Lateef, who is adviser to Marine Parade GRC grassroots organisations. She was speaking to reporters yesterday, ahead of a ministerial visit to her Geylang Serai ward by Minister in the Prime Minister's Office Chan Chun Sing on Sunday. Such ministerial visits, which take place about once a month, are to givenewer ministers a sense of residents' major concerns. Mr Chan will go to a hawker centre and a mosque, and hold a dialogue with youth.

Many of the new CERT members, such as Ms Ng Geok Thuay, 62, belong to a network of resident volunteers who work with groups to contribute to their community.

Said Ms Ng: "Since my two sons started work, I've had more free time, so I've been helping out more in the community. And I enjoy picking up useful skills like... CPR."

To hone their skills, the women will do a two-day course in June for an examination that will qualify them as certified first aiders, said Mr Steven Oh, chairman of the Geylang Serai Residents' Committee.

It will also help prepare them for evening patrols at the popular Geylang Serai Ramadan Bazaar in June, to look out for crime, potential fire hazards and give first aid if needed.

Said Mr Oh: "This is what I feel SG Secure (a national programme to foster resilience and prepare Singaporeans to handle crises) is about: residents helping at major events in their estate, and watching out for their neighbours."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 01, 2016, with the headline 'Geylang Serai gets women first responders'. Print Edition | Subscribe