Download app, save a life

Download app, save a life
PHOTO: The New Paper

The life-saving force needs your help to save lives.

And all you need is an app.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) launched the myResponder mobile application in April.

The app alerts users to nearby cases of suspected cardiac arrest, allowing them to respond before the SCDF arrives.

But the take-up rate has been slow.

Since the app was launched on April 17, there have been more than 2,000 downloads, but only about 700 users have registered to become responders.

The SCDF has also sent out alerts via the app for about 1,000 cases since April, of which about 600 turned out to be cardiac arrests.

Users of the app responded to only about 45 of the 1,000 cases.

About 15 of those 45 cases were cardiac arrests. Despite their efforts, all these 15 cardiac arrest victims died.

SCDF chief medical officer Colonel Ng Yih Yng explained that the survival rate for witnessed cardiac arrests is low.

"The survival rate for witnessed cardiac arrest is 12 per cent. If the patient suffers cardiac arrest and is unwitnessed, the survival rates are even lower at 3 per cent," he said.

"This because the survival rates drop by 10 per cent every minute after cardiac arrest."

Col Ng urges members of the public to download the app.

"When more people recognise the urgency of cardiac arrest and are able and willing to provide immediate help, the chances of survival will increase," said Col Ng.

"During an emergency, those in the immediate vicinity can make a difference by performing chest compressions before emergency services arrive.

"With the myResponder mobile app, there are better chances of survival for cardiac arrest victims."

Col Ng said that those who are not trained in first aid should still register as they can help to retrieve nearby defibrillators, perform chest compressions under guidance over the phone, or help to guide the ambulance crew to the incident site.

"Such timely interventions help to increase the chances of survival for the cardiac arrest victims because every minute counts," he said.

The SCDF has uploaded a video on YouTube to show how the app works.


Mr Martin Wong, 44, a business adviser, who found out about the app in an SCDF event, has responded to three incidents, the latest at Golden Shoe carpark on June 30.

"I rushed there and saw a man who was perspiring, vomiting and with his shirt unbuttoned, as if he couldn't breathe," he said.

"I got him to lie down, checked his symptoms and got his details ready for the paramedics."

The app is also used by volunteers in the Neighbourhood Active Responder Programme (Near).

Two Near volunteers, Madam Annie Pee, 43, a nanny, and Mr Raizan Abdul Razak, 37, a civil servant, helped a man after being alerted by the app.

They do a two-hour volunteer shift every weekend and were about to finish their shift on July 5 when the app notified them of a case nearby.

Said Madam Pee: "We cycled to the block and found a woman panicking at the lift landing, saying something about her husband being in trouble."

She calmed the woman as Mr Raizan attended to the man.

"The man was unconscious and breathing heavily," he said.

He sat the man up in a recovery position and the paramedics arrived about three minutes later.

The victims, who were not cardiac arrest cases, were taken conscious and in stable condition to hospital.

These "responders" hope that more people will download the app and help to save lives.

Mr Wong said: "You don't need to be trained in first aid. Even helping to get the defibrillator unit from somewhere can help save a life.

"If one of your loved one collapses one day, wouldn't you want help from someone too?"

How to get the app

The application can be downloaded from the Apple App Store or Google Play Store by searching for "myResponder".

To register, users need to key in their Singpass ID, password and their mobile number.

Mobile data and location services will also have to be enabled for the app to work.

Individuals below the age of 18 can also sign up, but will have to seek parental consent.

Without registration, the app will still indicate the locations of nearby defibrillator units.

Registered users will receive notifications whenever there is a suspected cardiac arrest case in their vicinity, but response is entirely voluntary.

This article was first published on July 25, 2015.
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