She's fit to help others
Undergrad, 21, is only female member of new NTU club that teaches life-saving skills
She witnessed her friend having a seizure up on a mountain in a remote part of Wuhan, China, while they were on a polytechnic excursion.
But the ones who first attended to him panicked.
Instead of letting his episode end, the Ngee Ann Polytechnic students pulled at his four limbs before Ms Chew Si Hui, who has had Singapore Red Cross (SRC) training, stepped in and made sure they did the right thing.
That incident made Ms Chew resolve to dedicate more time to mastering life-saving skills, having learnt standard first aid with the SRC before her trip.
Today, the 21-year-old undergrad is the only female member of the CD Lionhearter Club at Nanyang Technological University (NTU).
The 15-member club, which was launched in NTU yesterday, is part of the Singapore Civil Defence Force's (SCDF) efforts to equip young people with emergency preparedness and life-saving skills.
These students then act as Community First Responders - volunteers who can be dispatched by an ambulance control centre to attend to nearby medical emergencies - through a location-based app called myResponder.
They can also offer overseas humanitarian assistance.
This is also a milestone for NTU, as it is the first local university to form the club. The club was launched in Singapore Polytechnic in 2009, and is now established in all polytechnics and ITE colleges here.
Recounting the China incident, which happened two years ago, Ms Chew said: "Help was not easily available. We had to act fast to help our classmate."
"My friends panicked and grabbed his arms and legs because they were afraid he might hurt himself.
"But I advised them that it was not the right thing to do as it might cause muscle injury."
She was also surprised by the misconceptions people have about dealing with seizures.
Ms Chew said: "Some of my friends tried to stuff a mobile phone in his mouth. But it's a myth that you need to put something in the person's mouth. It can be dangerous to do that."
Thankfully, she was able to gather a few others to help her remove any objects nearby that might have hurt him.
They also used jackets to support his head while waiting for the seizure to subside.
They used their blankets and jackets to keep another friend, who had fainted from exhaustion, warm. The group then helped them down the mountain.
Ms Chew said: "This (experience) made me realise the importance of being prepared for any situation."
She acknowledged that she knows better now and would react differently if she encounters another seizure as she recently attended SCDF's full-day Community Emergency Preparedness Programme, which will be offered to the club.
Ms Chew said: "Instead of jumping right in, I would calm others and myself first.
"At the time, there were many people crowding around him, but we should actually have given him space to breathe."
What you need to know about fits
- Uncontrolled movements or body spasms
- Person falling to the ground
- Clenching of teeth
- Rolling of eyes
- Incontinence or the inability to restrain the discharge of urine or faeces
- Person falling asleep once the fits have subsided
Source: Singapore Civil Defence Force
If you witness someone having fits or seizures, you should...
- Move dangerous objects out of the way (e.g. scissors and other sharp items)
- Not restrict the movements of the person
- Not place anything in the person's mouth
- Treat any injuries once the fits are over
- Dial 995 for the person to receive medical attention
Club is part of SG Secure movement
The CD Lionhearter Clubs are part of Singapore Civil Defence Force's efforts to support the SG Secure national movement, designed to enhance community preparedness in the face of a crisis such as a terror attack.
Ms Chew Si Hui, 21, one of the 15 members of the newly launched club at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), said it is important for NTU to have this club, now more than ever.
She said: "Now, we have terrorism and hate crimes in our everyday lives.
"Terrorists don't just target important areas, they can target anyone, any time."
In his speech at the club's launch, associate professor Ho Peng Kee, chairman of the Home Team Volunteer Network and guest of honour for the event, reiterated the need to be prepared in the face of terrorism.
He said: "The terrorist threat is here, and together as a community, (we must) beat it."