A record to mark 150 years of civil defence volunteerism

In a crowded hall, dozens of young adults sported bloody gashes on their arms while lifesavers rapidly wrapped lanyards above the wounds as tourniquets.

The injuries were fake - make-up applied by students from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College East - and everyone, from the civil defence volunteers to guest of honour Amrin Amin, Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and Health, was in good spirits.

The 281 participants of the seventh annual SCDF Civil Defence Lionhearters Forum had just imprinted their names in the Singapore Book of Records for the largest demonstration of "Bleeding Control in First Aid".

The Civil Defence Lionhearters is one of the Singapore Civil Defence Force's (SCDF) key volunteer schemes, and volunteers from 13 universities, junior colleges, polytechnics and ITE colleges turned up for the forum at the Singapore University of Technology and Design yesterday.

In support of the record-breaking effort, six of SCDF's partners presented $15,000 in donations to its adopted charity, Cerebral Palsy Alliance Singapore.

The forum was the first in a year-long series of events commemorating the 150th year of civil defence volunteerism in Singapore.

From now to next April, the SCDF will be conducting various activities to engage volunteers, including the launch of two new Lionhearter clubs.

From now to next April, the SCDF will be conducting various activities to engage volunteers, including the launch of two new Lionhearter clubs.

Mr Amrin said: "Our officers cannot be everywhere, so it's important that we see this as a personal responsibility, that we have that ability for our people to respond first, to act as a stopgap measure."

He also presented the Community First Responder Award to Lionhearter Ong Meng Kiat, 18, a Ngee Ann Polytechnic student who responded to an alert on the SCDF's MyResponder app and helped put out a rubbish chute fire in his HDB estate in Bukit Merah.

"I wanted to join a co-curricular activity that could help contribute back to society," Mr Ong said.

Members of the Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit and National Civil Defence Cadet Corps also attended the event.

Cadet Corps members Hairil Aidilfitri and Muhd Adhwa Ahlami, both 21, recalled responding to two MyResponder alerts in 2016.

Paramedics helped an unconscious man before they did, but they delivered cardiopulmonary resuscitation to a second man before the paramedics arrived.

"Every time there's a notification, I get nervous and I have a lot of doubt, but I just do what I do because we're trying to help them," said Mr Adhwa, a Republic Polytechnic student.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2018, with the headline 'A record to mark 150 years of civil defence volunteerism'. Print Edition | Subscribe