Six receive SCDF award for saving a man's life, fighting fire

SINGAPORE – Bukit View Secondary student Darryl Lee was at home on July 10 when the myResponder app on his phone alerted him to an incident nearby.

When the 16-year-old reached the scene, he saw other first responders attending to an elderly man lying on the ground at a hawker centre at Block 279 Bukit Batok East Avenue 3.

The man had suffered cardiac arrest and had collapsed.

Performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) was Dr Bernard Cheong, 63, who had been alerted by passersby to the situation and rushed over from his nearby clinic where he had been attending to a patient.

A nurse from the clinic, Ms Wong Lay Hoon, 54, assisted Dr Cheong by performing the chest compressions.

Dr Cheong said: “The man had dropped everything he was holding. Even his slippers were not on his feet.”

As a crowd began to gather, the duo took turns with a young man and young woman who were not identified, to continue CPR.

Dr Cheong applied an automated external defibrillator (AED) to the man, who had an irregular heartbeat.

He also instructed Darryl to assist with administering oxygen supply from an oxygen tank and mask they had brought from the clinic.

When an ambulance arrived, Darryl guided paramedics from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) to the scene of the incident where they took over from the first responders and brought the man to the hospital.

Darryl said: “I was very nervous when I first reached the site as this was the first time I had responded to an alert from the myResponder app.

“After the ambulance came and the paramedics took over, I felt a sense of relief that all of us had come together to help save this man’s life.”

For their efforts, Dr Cheong, Ms Wong and Darryl were among six people presented the Community Lifesaver Award by the SCDF on Monday (Dec 13) at the 4th SCDF Division Headquarters in Bukit Batok.

In a separate incident on Oct 11, retiree Goh Boon Hong, 65, was roused from his afternoon nap by his next-door neighbour pounding on the door of his home in Block 440 Bukit Batok West Avenue 8.

Answering her frantic calls for help, Mr Goh hurried after her barefoot and shirtless, and realised that a fire was raging in her kitchen.

He ran back to his second floor unit and grabbed a personal fire extinguisher to fight the blaze.

When the fire extinguisher was empty, he used a fire hose reel from the lift lobby to continue putting out the fire.

Mr Goh was joined by Mr Tan Huat Seng, 58, Mr Nur Hidayat Mahmod, 30, and another man, who had all spotted the fire separately and gone to help.

Mr Hidayat, who lives three blocks away and was headed out with his family to buy groceries, said: “We were walking at the void deck when my son noticed people in the opposite block taking photos with their phones and told me.

“That was when I went out, looked up and saw the fire.”

The four men took turns to put out the fire and were part of at least four community first responders who helped to put out the fire before firefighters from the SCDF arrived. Mr Goh, Mr Tan and Mr Hidayat received the Community Lifesaver Award from SCDF on Monday too.

Mr Goh Boon Hong (second from left) and Mr Nur Hidayat (second from right) with their SCDF Community Lifesaver Award. PHOTO: SCDF

Mr Hidayat, who is an operationally ready national serviceman with the SCDF, said that he was receiving the award on behalf of his wife, who had dialled 995, and the other responders who had helped to put out the fire.

Dr Cheong, who has been practising medicine for close to four decades, said he hoped that more young people would come forward to learn about first aid and how to do CPR.

He added: “In a situation like this, you need as many trained people to help continue with the chest compressions as one first responder cannot sustain it for a long enough period to help the patient.”

For Darryl, the incident was his first time responding to an alert from the myResponder app and to an incident of this nature.

He said: “This experience has given me a lot more confidence to take charge in similar situations.

“Even though I was just helping this time to make sure that the patient was receiving oxygen, I know what else to do in the future, so that I can continue to help save lives.”

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