Forum: Review activation of community first responders

I applaud National University Hospital nurse Claudia Tan Yanhua, who responded to two separate cases of cardiac arrest last year and tried to save her neighbours' lives, after being alerted by the Singapore Civil Defence Force's (SCDF) myResponder app.

She received SCDF's Community Lifesaver Award and Community First Responder Award, and SCDF highlighted her efforts in a Facebook post last Wednesday.

SCDF front-line emergency responders are equipped with personal protective equipment (PPE) in their daily work. However, community first responders reacting to calls for emergency help on SCDF's myResponder app are likely to not be equipped with PPE.

This action poses a threat to public safety for two reasons.

First, it is currently estimated that up to 40 per cent of people infected with the coronavirus do not show symptoms.

Second, an article published in medical journal The Lancet in May by a team of doctors in France described an increase in out-of-hospital cardiac arrest incidence observed during the Paris lockdown period of the pandemic compared with the equivalent time period in previous years.

I urge that the pandemic task force look into the activation of the public as first responders during this period, to avoid potential transmission of the coronavirus.

Dana Elliott Srither (Dr)

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.