A man has a heart attack and falls down an escalator with his baby in a pram. As a result, his hysterical wife has an asthma attack and collapses.
This dramatic scenario, played out by actors and mannequins, is what a Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) team faced during a regional competition that pitted 10 emergency medical services (EMS) teams from five countries against one another.
The SCDF team was the first runner-up in the EMS Asia contest in Davao City in the Philippines, winning US$400 (S$545) and two pieces of spinal immobilisation equipment. It lost to the team from the host country.
The SCDF team told The Straits Times yesterday that the competition, organised by the Asian Association for Emergency Medical Services, had been a good learning experience.
It was the first time Singapore had entered the event and the team's leader, Staff Sergeant Jennifer Lee, 33, said: "It is good to open up to others to understand the difficulties in their country. We all learnt that knowledge has to be shared to progress."
She added that in Singapore, hospitals are located in areas that are accessible to the public, whereas emergency services in other countries can take longer to reach rural areas.
The contest from June 16 to 19 tested teams on their ability to manage patients and situations in pre-hospital settings. But some of the Singapore team members also had their own problems to overcome.
The team's trainer, Second Warrant Officer Kamsani A. Hamid, said the group only had three weeks to prepare and it was a struggle to get all the members together as they worked different 12-hour shifts.
Staff Sergeant Jackson Lee had a high fever on the second day of the competition but still managed to take part. The 27-year-old said: "I thought of the time and effort we put into this... and I didn't want to let my teammates down."
For Staff Sergeant Parminder Kaur, 39, a paramedic for 18 years, it was her first work trip away from her husband and two children.
She said: "The team took really good care of me and I didn't feel homesick at all."
The SCDF has around 250 paramedics, some of whom are selected to take part in the annual Singapore-Global Firefighter and Paramedics Challenge to sharpen their rescue techniques.
Correction note: An earlier version of this story spelt Colonel (Dr) Ng Yih Yng's name incorrectly in the photo caption. We are sorry for the error.