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    Oct 04, 2016

    More trained in CPR here, ahead of anti-terror drive

    MORE people are arming themselves with life-saving skills, even before the launch of a national drive to prepare the public to deal with terrorist threats and emergencies.

    About 84,000 people were trained in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) last year, nearly thrice as many as the 32,000 in 2008, according to the National Resuscitation Council Singapore.

    The jump in numbers follows a greater awareness of the benefits of being trained in CPR, said Professor Venkataraman Anantharaman, chairman of the council.

    This is also partly the result of more schools, community centres and companies teaching CPR, as well as the Singapore Armed Forces teaching its recruits such skills, he added.

    The greater availability of accredited training centres - from 28 in 2008 to 93 last year - has also helped.

    "The more people who learn CPR, the more likely it is they will intervene when someone collapses," said Prof Anantharaman.

    "The bystander has the greatest chance of saving the (victim's) life - for every minute of not performing CPR, the chances of survival are reduced by 7 to 10 per cent."

    The growth in people trained in CPR comes on the back of the SGSecure drive launched last month to prepare the public against terrorist threats.

    Across the island, the People's Association has also introduced CPR and automated external defibrillator (AED) training to residents as well as members of Community Emergency Response Teams.

    AEDs are devices used to restart a heart that has stopped beating.

    One initiative that has encouraged more people to sign up for CPR courses is the Dispatcher-Assisted first Responder programme piloted in 2014.

    The one-hour scheme teaches a simplified form of CPR not involving mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

    Instead, participants are taught to check if the victim is responsive, call 995 and stay on the line with the medical dispatcher to perform CPR as directed, and use an AED until the ambulance arrives or the victim is revived.

    Nearly 36,000 students and teachers from more than 70 schools have taken part in the programme by the Unit for Pre-hospital Emergency Care at the Ministry of Health.

    "The programme is targeted at non-medical professionals because it's easier and responders can work with dispatchers to render assistance, rather than performing CPR alone," said Associate Professor Marcus Ong, the unit's medical director.

    Participants are also encouraged to sign up for CPR certification afterwards, he added.