App helps users locate CPR-trained people to save lives

The quick response of people nearby could save a cardiac arrest victim's life.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) yesterday launched an app to help them do just that.

myResponder aims to connect a member of the public who comes across someone suffering a cardiac arrest with a person in the vicinity who is trained in cardio- pulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

A map will also show the locations of nearby automated external defibrillators (AEDs).

The app is available now for download only in Android app stores, but will be accessible on Apple devices soon. It was one of several initiatives unveiled at the SCDF Workplan Seminar 2015 yesterday, which focused on developing the force's capabilities through technology and community engagement.

Second Minister for Home Affairs S. Iswaran, guest of honour at the event, said: "Well before an SCDF ambulance or a responder from the SCDF comes, the bystanders who are probably going to be the first responders can already attend to the needs of the person and probably make the difference between life and death."

Response time is critical in an emergency, he noted, with a patient's survival chances improved by 10 per cent with each minute saved in administering CPR-AED from the onset of cardiac arrest. "There is a wellspring of desire and goodwill to help, and what we need to do is really create more platforms for people to participate, to come forward to help, and to give them the requisite training," Mr Iswaran said.

Another project that will be rolled out from June is the installation of some 400 AEDs at the void decks of Housing Board blocks in Bedok, Bukit Panjang, Choa Chu Kang, Pasir Ris West, Radin Mas and Tampines West, with plans to expand this to all constituencies by the end of 2018.

The number of emergency ambulances will also have increased from the current 50 to 80 by then to meet increasing demand.

Also in the pipeline are unmanned aerial vehicles for use in large-scale disasters involving firefighting, rescue or hazardous materials (see box above).

Mr Iswaran said: "Technology is a force multiplier that allows our officers to focus their energies where their human interface and human judgment is critical, while machines and equipment can do a lot of other things."

This article was first published on April 18, 2015.
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