This family has four siblings fighting Covid-19 on the front lines

Siblings (from left) Firdaus, Fazlina, Faiz and Sakinah Surani are out on the front lines every day. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

SINGAPORE - While most Singaporeans are working from home these few weeks, four of the five siblings in the Surani family are out on the front lines every day.

Brothers Warrant Officer 1 Firdaus, 37, and Sergeant Faiz, 27, serve in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). The family's oldest daughter, 36-year-old Fazlina, is a nurse clinician with Tan Tock Seng Hospital. Their youngest sister, Staff Sergeant Sakinah, 29, is a ground response officer with the Singapore Police Force.

Their fifth sibling, a sister, works as a regional branch manager for a food and beverage outlet.

On Friday (April 10), which is Siblings Day, a holiday marked in some parts of the world, the four siblings will head to work to play their part in Singapore's front-line fight against Covid-19.

Encouraged by their parents to pursue careers in public institutions, their daily work has been impacted by the pandemic, to varying degrees.

Faiz, the youngest, is a paramedic with the SCDF whose duties include responding to medical emergencies and providing pre-hospital care to patients.

Although not much has changed since the outbreak, Faiz said he is now required to wear full personal protective equipment for all calls he attends to. He has been with SCDF for four years.

As an operations centre specialist, Firdaus, the oldest, is the first point of contact for members of the public when they call the SCDF emergency hotline, 995. He gets the information needed to determine an appropriate response, which recently has included conducting medical triaging, or prioritising the order of treatment, for suspected Covid-19 patients. He has been with SCDF for 15 years.

As operations centre staff communicate with emergency responders to monitor the situation on the ground, the brothers occasionally cross paths while working.

"It is heart-warming if I get to hear Firdaus' voice at the end of the phone line or on the air," said Faiz.

Firdaus shares his brother's sentiment, adding: "We have to be professional, but it is nice to know that he is there doing his part in the force."

As a police officer, Sakinah is now regularly deployed to Government Quarantine Facilities to maintain order.

Fazlina, who works in the renal unit, has started performing outpatient dialysis procedures for dialysis patients served with home quarantine orders.

The siblings are close knit, and would arrange to meet for meals when their work shifts permitted, said Fazlina.

Before the circuit breaker period, the whole family would get together monthly for picnics at East Coast Park or meals at their parents' home in Hougang, where Faiz and Sakinah still live. Both Firdaus and Fazlina are married and live with their own families.

Said their father, Mr Surani Kasnan, a 62-year-old welder: "I have always been supportive of my children. With the current situation, I'm proud and happy that they can do their part for Singapore."

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