Three off-duty ProCom officers were honoured with the SCDF Community Life Saviour Award for their calm assistance rendered in an emergency.
It might be one of many people’s greatest fears: Seeing a loved one collapse and fall unconscious, with no one around to help except yourself.
Thankfully for one elderly couple on 21 September last year, three off-duty Protective Security Command (ProCom) officers from the Singapore Police Force (SPF) happened to be passing by around 11am, after completing their morning deployment shift.
SGT (1) Muhammad Khairul Anam Bin Abdul Halim, SGT (1) Muhammad Izuwan Bin Kamsani and SGT (2) Muhammad Nur Syahmi Bin Mazlan were walking to the public open carpark near Block 343, Clementi Avenue 5 when they realised there was a commotion taking place within the carpark.
“When we got nearer, we understood that there might be a medical emergency,” said SGT (1) Anam. “Without thinking, we instantly rushed over to assist.”
A MEDICAL EMERGENCY
An elderly man was desperately carrying out cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on his unconscious wife, who was lying in the middle of the carpark road with a bloodied face.
Upon finding out that he had been performing CPR for 15 to 20 minutes already, SGT (1) Izuwan asked him if he could help as the man was sweating and fast becoming exhausted.
“While my friend Izuwan continued with CPR, I asked the man some questions like ‘How did it happen?’ ‘Did you call an ambulance yet?’” recounted SGT (2) Syahmi.
According to SGT (1) Anam, the aim was to calm the man down and get a full account of the incident. They were thus able to give the necessary information to the attending paramedics, and assisted the ambulance to the exact location where it was needed.
In the meantime, SGT (1) Izuwan was quelling his own internal anxiety about performing CPR on a person suffering a real-life medical crisis – the first time he had ever done so.
“I felt responsible,” he explained. “I had to do my best because I knew that her loved ones were depending on me to save her.”
He stayed calm and composed, and made sure to follow his training precisely: “The situation will make you nervous, but you have to make sure to count, and not rush. I had to just trust what I learnt in performing CPR.”
When the ambulance arrived shortly after, the paramedics took over and the three ProCom officers fell back, knowing that the elderly woman was in safe hands. Still unconscious, she was conveyed to hospital along with her husband.
SGT (1) Izuwan made sure to follow up on her condition afterwards. It turned out that she had suffered a cardiac arrest when she was crossing the carpark towards the void deck. The fall caused her to suffer injuries to her face – hence the blood – and unconsciousness, but she is now in the process of recovering without any other major complications.
RAISING AWARENESS OF CPR SKILLS
The three ProCom officers’ unhesitating actions were recognised in the form of the Singapore Civil Defence Force Community Life Saviour Award.
Downplaying his own efforts, SGT (1) Izuwan said: “While we didn’t do much, I feel that every second counted in this situation where there was a life that needed to be saved. Looking at how helpless the victim was as she lay on the floor unconscious prompted me to come in and assist. I think it’s normal for everyone to react that way.”
The sudden nature of the event also offered some food for thought. Said SGT (1) Anam: “We learnt that we might come across such incidents unexpectedly, even when we are not on duty. And as NSmen from SPF, to ignore such a situation happening in front of us does not seem to be the right thing to do.”
While SGT (2) Syahmi admitted that even during his National Service days with ProCom, he had never encountered an incident where CPR was needed, putting his CPR skills to the test has given SGT (1) Izuwan the confidence to use them again if needed in the future.
“I feel it’s important to have at least the CPR skillset – not only to help others, but maybe even your close ones around you,” he pointed out. “I hope the Community Life Saviour Award brings awareness of this to everyone in Singapore.”
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