SINGAPORE-In a crowded hall, dozens of young adults sported bloody gashes on their arms while lifesavers rapidly wrapped lanyards above the wounds as a tourniquet.
The injuries were fake - moulage makeup applied by students from the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College East - and everyone from the civil defence volunteers to Guest-of-Honour, Mr Amrin Amin, Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and Health, was in good spirits.
The 281 participants at the seventh annual Singapore Civil Defence Force (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 SCDF's key volunteer schemes, and Lionhearter volunteers from 13 universities, junior colleges, polytechnics and ITE colleges attended the forum held on Tuesday (April 17).
The forum was the first in a year-long series of events marking the 150th year of civil defence volunteerism in Singapore, since the formation of the first official voluntary Fire Brigade in 1869.
From now till next April, the SCDF will be conducting various activities to engage volunteers in commemoration, including the launch of two new Lionhearter Clubs in the Singapore Institute of Technology and Singapore Management University.
Mr Amrin told reporters: "No matter how many people we deploy, our officers cannot be everywhere, and so it is 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 before we get a more complete response."
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 CCA that could help to contribute back to society," Mr Ong said of the Lionhearters. Volunteers can free up the SCDF to attend to more emergencies and life-threatening issues, he added.
Members of the Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit and the National Civil Defence Cadet Corp also attended the forum.
Cadet Corp members Hairil Aidilfitri and Muhd Adhwa Ahlami, both 21, recalled responding to two consecutive MyResponder alerts on a morning during the fasting month in 2016. Paramedics arrived at the first scene and attended to an unconscious man before they did, but they delivered cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to a second man and managed the situation until the paramedics came.
"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.
Mr Hairil, who is waiting to enlist in National Service, encouraged people not to be afraid to help out of fear that their assistance could be rejected.
Imagine if a person who means a lot to you has an emergency, and someone comes to offer help, he said. "Would you decline the help, or accept the help knowing it might save your loved ones?"