Over 60 Singaporeans learn to carry out simple CPR, in first-responder scheme

Health Minister Gam Kim Yong (left) and Reverend Pastor Derrick Lau (right) at Sunday's CPR training session.
Health Minister Gam Kim Yong (left) and Reverend Pastor Derrick Lau (right) at Sunday's CPR training session.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - More than 60 Singaporeans went through an hour-long programme on Sunday to learn simplified cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), which has been found to be just as effective in saving a person's life as standard CPR.

A recent study by Singapore General Hospital and the National Heart Centre Singapore even showed that people who learnt simplified CPR gave better quality chest compression.

Called Dare, which stands for Dispatcher Assisted first Responder, the one-hour progamme teaches participants to dial 995, stay on line with a medical dispatcher to perform CPR as directed and use an automated external defibrillator.

Sunday's session at Methodist Church of the Incarnation in Choa Chu Kang is the first such collaboration between the Unit of Pre-hospital Emergency Care (UPEC), which designed the programme, and the Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circle. The aim is to have similar collaborations to train more communities and religious groups in Singapore.

The Dare programme, which was piloted in 2014, has mostly been held in schools and so far trained more than 8,000 people.

Associate Professor Marcus Ong, medical director of UPEC, said 97 per cent of people who have cardiac arrests here do not survive. But it need not be the case if more people are equipped with the skills to step forward when the need arises.

"Rather than waiting for the paramedics to arrive, their actions may make a difference between life and death," he said.

Health minister Gan Kim Yong, who joined participants at Sunday's session, said: "Most out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen in the victim's home or places he frequents, often in the presence of relatives, friends or neighbours."

"By preparing for the unexpected, the skills acquired today may end up saving lives of someone we know or someone we love in the future if we dare to step up."

samboh@sph.com.sg