Community first responders lauded at appreciation event
Network expanded to deter radicalisation and spread of fake news
It was drizzling on Labour Day morning in 2017 when Mr Desmond Woo received a notification from the myResponder App alerting him to an 83-year-old man having a heart attack in a nearby Housing Board block.
The 32-year-old jumped out of bed, rushed to the man's home and performed cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on him until the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) arrived.
"I just wanted to do my best to make sure I really rendered help and hoped that he survived. Nothing else was on my mind then," said Mr Woo, who returned to man's home and found out that the man was recovering in hospital.
Mr Woo, a senior airport emergency officer, was one of more than 100,000 responders in the community involved in the SGSecure Responders' Network, whose efforts were recognised during an appreciation event on Friday (Jan 21).
At the event, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) announced an expansion of the responders' network to include volunteers who can report suspicious items and behaviour, including suspected cases of radicalisation.
The network will also be expanded to those who can share news from credible sources to prevent the spread of misinformation.
Currently, responders in the network are alerted to nearby cases of suspected cardiac arrest and small fires on the app that they can choose to attend to.
Since the network was launched in 2019, the response rate from these volunteers has increased from 30 per cent in 2019 to 45 per cent last year.
Together with SCDF's myResponder initiative, which was launched earlier in 2015, the joint pool of responders has responded to 62,000 activations and saved more than 30 lives.
Members of the public who wish to join the network can download the SGSecure app and register on it.
SCDF Community First Responders and community partners were also lauded at the event.
One of the community partners, Singapore Red Cross Academy, is currently working with the Home Team on a behavioural insights study to find out how to increase responders' registration.
Speaking as the guest of honour at the event, Minister of State for Home Affairs as well as Sustainability and the Environment Desmond Tan, stressed the importance of the role that responders play.
He cited a statistic that stated that a cardiac arrest victim's chances of survival drops by 7 per cent to 10 per cent every minute if CPR or an automated external defibrillator (AED) is not applied.
On the expansion of the network, Mr Tan said: "These are roles that anyone can undertake. We hope that the broadening of the scope of SGSecure Responders will allow more people to join the network - in particular, those who may not yet have the confidence to perform CPR or (use an) AED or to put out fires in our neighbourhoods."
He added that for those worried about accidentally hurting someone or being blamed for doing something wrong unintentionally, existing laws protect them so long as what they have done is in good faith and with reasonable care.
"Remember, every action counts. If you see someone in need, please step forward to help," he said.
For IT engineer Ian Patrick Edema, 50, six of his colleagues who were ship captains and responders, or "angels" according to Mr Edema, came to his rescue when he suffered cardiac arrest while in the pantry of his office in June 2015.
"(Doctors) told me that the captains were part of (the reason) why I'm alive because if I had passed out and nobody had done anything, and if no oxygen went to my brain, I could have come out as a vegetable," he told the media.
"They are the reason I am alive," he added.