Published: 28 January 2021
Mr Yee Wee Tang, Managing Director, Grab Singapore;
Mr Eric Yap, Commissioner, SCDF;
Ms Yeo Wan Ling, Director, NTUC;
Mr Vernon Kang, Chief Executive Officer, Singapore Heart Foundation;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
1. A very good afternoon. Today, we are having a very important event. It is a milestone in our effort to save lives. I am happy, today, to launch the SCDF-Grab “AED-on-Wheels” programme.
2. The “AED-on-Wheels” programme was introduced in November 2015 to equip taxis and private hire vehicles with automated external defibrillators (or AEDs), as well as to train the drivers in CPR-AED skills. Under the programme, drivers learn the medical protocols to determine unresponsiveness, perform CPR and use the AEDs on casualties. So, essentially, it is not only about having the AEDs. It is about equipping our people with the skills and know-how, so that we are able to better prepare them to save lives.
3. By being part of this programme, drivers can make a crucial difference to the lives of others. When cardiac arrest cases are reported, these drivers will be notified via SCDF’s myResponder app. If they happen to be in the vicinity, they can quickly render aid to the person in need. Such quick response to a medical emergency can mean a difference between life and death. For every minute saved, the person’s chances of survival increase by seven to ten percent.
4. Currently, there are about 100 drivers on this programme, and to date, they have responded to 156 cardiac arrest cases.
Thank Grab, its Drivers and Riders
5. I am delighted that Grab has come onboard this programme, and has provided strong support.
6. Grab has worked with SCDF to equip 50 vehicles with AEDs. In addition, they have taken the initiative to equip these vehicles with first aid kits and fire extinguishers, which can be deployed for emergency responses such as road traffic accidents or vehicular fires.
7. Not just that, I was also informed that these 50 Grab drivers and 50 other GrabFood riders have participated in SCDF’s Community Emergency Preparedness Programme, or the CEPP.
8. This CEPP provides comprehensive training and equips its participants with crucial lifesaving skills, such as first aid, CPR-AED and firefighting. Through this training, the drivers and riders are better able to step forward to render targeted assistance in emergencies. What I think is key, is that it goes beyond the cardiac arrest aspects. It also helps to save property. It helps them to deal with emergencies, and that will – in the case of a fire – prevent the damage to other properties. So, these are very useful skills and equipment that will help us to save lives and properties.
9. To Grab, its drivers and its riders, my sincere thanks to all of you for your participation in the “AED-on-Wheels” programme as well as the CEPP.
A Nation of Lifesavers
10. SCDF’s vision is to build a Nation of Lifesavers. You don’t have to be on a special programme or have undergone special training, to play a part in saving lives.
11. To share a recent example, in November last year, three Town Council workers, Mr Easin Mohammad, Mr Biswas Mohammad Wasim and Mr Hossan Mohammad Saddam heard cries for help from a HDB unit in Yishun and immediately rushed to render assistance. They were joined shortly by Mr Muhammad Omar Syarif Bin Sapari, Mr Syed Husein Bin Syed Yahya Shahab, and two other GrabFood riders. Together, they broke down the door with a sledgehammer and used a hose reel to fight the fire. Even though the fire was raging within the unit and thick smoke was blinding and choking them, they continued to fight the fire, eventually preventing the fire from spreading and helping to save the lives of the two occupants. Amazing. Let’s give them a big round of applause. In a subsequent interview, Mr Saddam shared that he did not even think about whether he would be injured, but the only thing on his mind was that he should try to save their lives.
12. I am very touched and encouraged by their brave actions, and I understand that the Town Council workers and two of the GrabFood riders are here with us today and will be presented with SCDF’s Community Lifesaver Award later. This is a small gesture for what you have done. It is a gesture of our appreciation for you. Not only did you save lives, but you also showed others that they too, can play a part in a situation like this. It encourages many more people to act that way when such things happen, and I think this is a testimony of the way we want to develop Singapore – to always look out for one another and come forward. On behalf of MHA and SCDF, I would like to commend you for your bravery and strong community spirit; you have stepped forward and made a difference to the lives of others.
13. This is one of many examples of members of the public heeding the call for assistance. To date, almost 90,000 people have registered on the myResponder app, and they have responded to almost half of all cases on the app. In October 2020, the number even went up to 61 percent – one of the highest rates, despite the ongoing COVID-19 situation. Every response matters, even if it is performing simple tasks like guiding emergency responders to the casualty, or helping to retrieve an AED. So, the message is simple. Every single effort is a big one, because our intention is to save lives. Wherever we are, if we see things happen, I think the first instinct is to help, because if there is no help, the outcome of the incident is inevitable. We want to make sure that we save lives, we minimise the injury, and minimise the damage – we want to equip you with the skills, and over time, we will extend our reach.
14. These are heartening results, and I hope that we can continue in this spirit. I encourage those who have not downloaded the myResponder app to do so. It is a simple step, but in so doing, we may make a difference to the lives of others.
15. Once again, please join me in thanking Grab, its drivers, and its riders for their very strong support. I look forward to having greater participation from the taxi and private hire vehicle community, and hope more members of the public can step forward to contribute in whichever way possible. I would also like to thank all our partners because the whole picture only becomes complete with all of you, and we become stronger as a community. Because when the people see that there is an effort and that they are not alone in doing this; they know that among them – neighbours, their own family members and the community – are all ready to help one another. So, that is the bigger message. We also want to share with the public that we will continue to make this effort, to reach out to you.
16. Together, let us work towards the vision of building a Nation of Lifesavers.
17. I thank the SCDF for working hard on this. They shared with me that they have done their best to reach out to as many people as possible and this is a journey that they believe in, and they do their best because this journey is worth it, because it helps to saves lives and our property. Thank you.