Free classes to learn life-saving skills

It had been over two years since Mr Eugene Seah picked up life-saving skills in 2015, but he still remembered them well this July when he had to perform emergency cardiac arrest procedures on a 35-year-old man.

It was one of two cases that the National University of Singapore nursing student has dealt with, following another in May when he performed similar procedures on a 50-year-old man.

His experiences made him realise the importance of learning skills such as chest compressions and the use of automatic external defibrillators.

"In case a cardiac arrest happens at home, I can save my own loved ones, instead of feeling helpless. Not only am I able to save my own loved ones, but also others' loved ones if I witness a cardiac arrest," said Mr Seah, 22.

He was activated to help in the two cases from the Singapore Civil Defence Force's myResponder app, which alerts volunteers to cardiac arrests near them.

Mr Seah was invited to share his experiences under the "Restart-A-Heart" awareness campaign run by Singapore Heart Foundation (SHF) and Temasek Foundation Cares (TFC), a philanthropic arm of investment firm Temasek Holdings.

He was present at a demonstration held for journalists from various newspapers in Singapore Press Holdings, whose Integrated Marketing Division is supporting the campaign from September to November.

Mr Eugene Seah was activated to help in two cases from the Singapore Civil Defence Force's myResponder app, which alerts volunteers to cardiac arrests near them.
Mr Eugene Seah was activated to help in two cases from the Singapore Civil Defence Force's myResponder app, which alerts volunteers to cardiac arrests near them. PHOTO: GIN TAY FOR THE STRAITS TIMES

The campaign encourages people to sign up for free hour-long classes to equip them with life-saving skills to be more active first-responders, said Ms Woon Saet Nyoon, TFC chief executive, yesterday.

Mr Vernon Kang, chief executive officer of SHF, said the classes are aimed at dispelling misperceptions among some that such skills are too difficult to learn.

Out-of-hospital cardiac arrest (OHCA) is one of the leading causes of death in Singapore, claiming over 2,000 lives each year, with half of cardiac arrest victims aged below 65.

With each passing minute, the chances of survival drop 7 to 10 per cent. Ambulances take an average of 11 minutes to arrive at the scene of emergency. Currently, only 13.8 per cent of OHCA victims survive.

The first training course for the public will be conducted by SHF on Nov 18, with more courses being planned.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 31, 2017, with the headline 'Free classes to learn life-saving skills'. Print Edition | Subscribe