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By Ong Yan Quan
The New Paper
June 25, 2016
Two teenagers became the first civilians to respond to two calls for help by cardiac arrest victims in a day through an innovative mobile phone app by Singapore Civil Defence (SCDF).
Mr Hairil Aidilfitri Johari, 19, and Mr Muhammad Adhwa Ahlami Johari, 19, went to the aid of two victims in two hours, after Mr Adhwa received two alerts from the myResponder app on Wednesday.
The boys had watched Croatia upset favourites Spain 2-1 in a Euro 2016 group match and then tucked into their pre-dawn Ramadan meal at Mr Hairil's Woodlands Street 82 flat. Just as they finished their meal at 5.30am, Mr Adhwa heard a siren.
It did not come from a passing ambulance outside, it was a notification from his myResponder app.
The two ITE students, who are been trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and using an automated external defibrillator (AED), sprinted to the scene in two minutes.
They were just in time to assist paramedics and help direct traffic.
They had barely caught their breath after the first case when Mr Adhwa and Mr Hairil received another notification, at 7.33am.
"We were very thirsty but could not stop for a water break as we are fasting," Mr Hairil told The New Paper. Rain poured while they sprinted to their next case.
They reachedthe victim's flat in a minute.
They saw the victim's family members administering CPR while he was seated in an upright position, which was wrong.
Remembering their cadet training at Evergreen Secondary School, the teens took control of the situation.
They placed the victim on the floor, and took turns to administer CPR on the elderly man with the assistance of the voice call function on the app.
Once paramedics came seven minutes later, the teens consoled the victim's distraught family members.
"It was the least we could do," said Mr Hairil.
Despite their efforts, both patients died later.
The SCDF decided to recognise the teens exceptional efforts and gave them the Public Spiritedness Award at the 4th SCDF Division Headquarters in Bukit Batok yesterday.
Their former secondary school principal, Ms Carol Lim, beamed with pride when they were presented with the award.
"They are boys of good character and always selflessly offering their help in times of crisis," Ms Lim said.
Assistant Commissioner Yazid Abdullah, the director of the medical department at SCDF, commended Mr Adhwa and Mr Hairil's courage.
He said that even though these two were equipped with first-aid training, responders without any background knowledge can also use the myResponder app.
"It is not essential to have previous first-aid training as responders will have the assistance of our control room.
"We highly encourage more people to offer their assistance using myResponder," said AC Yazid.
How it works
Since its launch in April last year, the myResponder mobile app has given civilians the chance to save a person's life.
Anyone above 18 will be able to register with their SingPass.
So far, there have been 15,000 downloads and 6,000 reported cases of suspected cardiac arrests.
Users will be able to report incidents of cardiac arrest and be notified of cases within 400m of their location.
Responders trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and using automated external defibrillators are then able to attend to the reported cases.
First-hand training is not mandatory.
The public is encouraged to download the app.
Response is voluntary, and the SCDF only encourages volunteers to respond when they are available within reasonable means.
Untrained users can conduct phone-assisted CPR before the arrival of paramedics and usher them to the location.
Every minute without intervention decreases the survival rate by 10 per cent.