Trained by the SCDF, 64 Grab drivers are now ready to save lives
Under tie-up, SCDF trains them on CPR and first aid, while 50 Grab vehicles are equipped with AEDs, fire extinguishers and first aid kits
Ms Margaret Koh, a semi-retiree who has been a Grab driver for two years, has often witnessed traffic accidents while on the job but all she could do was look on helplessly.
Recalling seeing someone lying motionless on the road in Jurong after one accident, the 65-year-old told The New Paper yesterday: "I felt helpless, but I could not do anything as I was not medically trained, and I might make things worse."
She had always wanted to learn how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED) but did not know where to take such a course - until she received an invitation through her Grab app to sign up and learn.
Feeling a "responsibility" and keen to try and help people, she did.
Ms Koh is among 64 Grab drivers who, through the Community Emergency Preparedness Programme, have been trained by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) on how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation, apply first aid, use a fire extinguisher and an AED.
This is part of the SCDF-Grab AED-on-Wheels programme, through which 50 of Grab's private-hire vehicles are equipped with AEDs as well as fire extinguishers and first aid kits.
This partnership is the third iteration of the AED-on-Wheels programme, which aims to increase the availability of roving AEDs within the community.
It started in 2015 when 100 SMRT taxis were equipped with AEDs and it expanded in November 2019 to include 50 HDT Singapore taxis.
Drivers are alerted to cardiac arrest incidents within a 1.5km radius of their location and participating cabbies have assisted in 158 cardiac arrest cases as of Sept 30 last year.
Grab Singapore managing director Yee Wee Tang, who was at the launch of the SCDF-Grab AED-on-Wheels programme yesterday, said: "This meaningful initiative not only contributes to strengthen community resilience, but it also enables our driver-partners to play an active role in helping to save lives."
Minister of State for Home Affairs and National Development Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim said: "When cardiac arrest cases are reported, these drivers will be notified via SCDF's myResponder app.
"If they happen to be in the vicinity, they can quickly render aid to the person in need. Such a quick response to a medical emergency can mean a difference between life and death.
"For every minute saved, the person's chances of survival increases by 7 per cent to 10 per cent."
Mr Mark Chan, a 61-year-old full-time Grab driver who also signed up to be trained by the SCDF, said: "I feel reassured having an AED in my car... If there is a need for it, I can use it immediately, and I always promote the programme to my passengers."