SCDF frontliners like SSG Mohammad Aliff Rosli keep going in challenging times.
Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) SSG Mohammad Aliff Rosli, who works at Alexandra Fire Station, usually responds to emergency medical cases such as cardiac arrest, major trauma and stroke. But his scope of work increased last year with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, as Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) took on additional duties, including sending COVID-19 patients to hospital. In 2020, SCDF transported about 2,000 COVID-19 positive cases and more than 8,300 suspected cases. More than 60 of those suspected were later found to have the coronavirus.
TACKLING THE DISEASE
Some 1,400 SCDF personnel, including paramedics and 995 operations centre specialists, were involved in COVID-19 operations last year.
The challenge was daunting at first, as not much was known about COVID-19 in the early stages. There was also the risk of being exposed to the virus. To ensure the well-being of those on duty, extra precautions were taken for COVID-19-related cases. For instance, ambulances were disinfected after each deployment, and the process took about two hours.
When asked how he felt working on the frontline in the fight against COVID-19, SSG Aliff shares, “It’s a job that needs to be done — someone has to do it. To me, it’s a higher calling to help others when they are in need.” He has also leaned on the support of his colleagues and family, whom he described as “close-knit”. He and his family talk about his daily work experiences at home over the dinner table.
In SSG Aliff’s view, civil defence involves everyone, not just the frontliners. “It can be as simple as calling 995 when you see an emergency or helping to resuscitate a passer-by suffering from cardiac arrest. It could also be putting out minor fires as long as it’s safe to do so.”
“Our primary concern was always (the possibility of) bringing home the virus and infecting others at home. This was especially so for me, as I have an elderly grandmother who might be more susceptible to this, and a wife with a weaker immune system than normal.”
SSG Mohammad Aliff Rosli, Emergency Medical Technician, SCDF