A new mobile app launched on Saturday (May 26) aims to provide the information and boost confidence for ordinary Singaporeans to act when they encounter someone suffering a heart attack.
The app, which is named DARE after the Dispatcher-Assisted first Responder programme that launched it, will teach users how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and use the automated external defibrillator (AED) through step-by-step tutorials.
It also includes information about helping someone who is suffering from a cardiac arrest. Videos, quizzes and games are used to enhance learning.
In the event of a cardiac emergency, users can call 995 through the app for real-time guidance. The app will also guide users to the nearest AED based on their location.
The public can also sign up for free training sessions at community centres through the app to be officially certified to perform CPR.
The app is part of a wider effort by the government to empower ordinary Singaporeans to provide immediate assistance to anyone who has collapsed from cardiac arrest.
The Dispatcher-Assisted first Responder programme (DARE), which began in 2014, is a simplified one-hour programme designed by the Ministry of Health's Unit for Pre-hospital Emergency Care to make learning CPR and using an AED easy.
Mr Amrin Amin, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for the Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of Health, who attended the launch at Toa Payoh HDB Hub on Saturday, emphasised the role of ordinary Singaporeans in saving lives.
He noted that of the over 2,300 cardiac arrests occurring in Singapore each year, 70 per cent happened in residential areas.
"This means that anyone of us - family, friends, neighbours or bystanders - may potentially encounter a cardiac arrest victim."
Mr Amin added that the majority of victims did not receive any form of life-saving aid until paramedics arrived, which was a major worry as chances of survival drop by roughly 10 percent for every 10-minute delay in applying CPR.
He also said the new app complements Singapore's SG Secure initiative to stay alert and be prepared at all times, to react and respond in different types of emergency situations.
Dr Jade Kua, Programme Director of DARE, said anyone who witnesses a cardiac arrest is the best first responder, as even the fastest ambulance takes about eight to 12 minutes to arrive.
"Accessible to anyone with a smart phone, users will always have emergency tools and a checklist by their side… (even) CPR-certified users can also get a refresher with training videos... Think of it as the first step in your CPR and AED training journey," she added.
Ms An Xin Yun, a 23-year-old student of the Singapore Institute of Technology, recounted her experience witnessing a cardiac arrest during her secondary school days.
"As I was walking out of the school, I saw a man lying on the ground and not moving. I rushed forward and started doing the CPR steps, asked a passerby for an AED. However, he told me that he doesn't know what an AED was and walked away"
Fortunately, she and her schoolmates had been CPR and AED trained in school as members of St. John's Brigade and were able to save the man in a timely fashion.
"I feel that sometimes people tend to panic and forget everything they had learnt. So with this app as a guide, no one would be afraid of not knowing what to do when CPR is required," she said.
Mr Amin also revealed that some 700 AEDs, up from close to 460 in March last year, have been installed in public areas such as Community Centres and HDB blocks.
Singapore aims to install some 5,000 AEDs across the island - one for every two HDB blocks in all constituencies - by 2019.