Be Prepared, Save A Life

Be Prepared, Save A Life

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Stay calm, don’t panic. That might be the toughest to do in an emergency. Learn how you should respond to three common emergencies correctly so that you can act fast, and save a life.


One moment your brother is enjoying his fishball noodles, and the next instant he is coughing with his hands around his neck. A fishball got stuck in his airway. Here is what you should and should not do:

Myth 1: Use your fingers to remove the fishball

Not a good idea, as you could damage the throat or accidentally push the fishball further down, making it even more challenging to remove.

Myth 2: Strong slaps on the back

Use this move only when meeting a long-lost friend. Othewise, slapping a choking person on the back may cause the fishball to slip down the throat, blocking the airway.

However, this method is useful for children if done properly. Quickly lay the child face down on your lap or support the child in a forward-leaning position, and give five strong pats on the back.

Myth 3: Eat or drink to push the fishball down

This method could make matters worse by adding more obstruction to the chokepoint.

Heimlich Manoeuvre can save life when a foreign object is stuck in the windpipe

What you should do: Perform the Heimlich manoeuvre

  1. Stand behind the person and lean the person slightly forward.
  2. Put your arms around the person, locking your fists just below the rib cage.
  3. Squeeze your arms quickly, inward and upward.

This raises the diaphragm and causes the person's lungs to compress. The pressure forces the air out of the lungs and expels the food out of the windpipe.

What if you are alone? Here’s what you can do:

  1. Make a fist with your hand and place the thumb side two fingers’ breath above your navel
  2. Grasp your fist with the other, then press inward and upward toward the diaphragm with a quick motion
  3. If unsuccessful, try pressing your upper abdomen over a firm surface such as the back of a chair, side of a table or porch railing. Several abdominal thrusts may be needed to clear the airway

For more tips on how you can help someone who is choking, please visit:

Cardiac arrest

Every day, three people in Singapore die from cardiac-arrest. But you can save a life by acting fast, as chances of survival decreases by 10 per cent every minute after blood stops flowing to the heart. What should you do when a person collapses?

Myth 1: Call a family member first

Always call 995 immediately.

Myth 2: Carry the collapsed individual to a chair

This will further reduce blood flow to the brain and accelerate brain damage.

Myth 3: Pour water on the person’s face

In movies, this is often shown to be effective in waking a person up. But in reality, this offers no help.

What you should do:

  1. Check if the person is conscious by hitting both shoulders
  2. Check for breathing by observing for upward and downward movement of the chest
  3. Call 995 and locate an AED (automated external defibrillator)
  4. If the person is unconscious and not breathing normally, start chest compressions to the beat of Stayin’ Alive by the Bee Gees.
  • Imagine a line between the nipples (the point where your ribs meet in the middle). Put the heel of your hand on that line in the middle of your chest.
  • Next, begin 30 chest compressions at a rate of 100 compressions per minute. Keep your elbows locked and use your bodyweight to press down to keep the pressure consistent.
  • Listen to the instructions of the medical dispatcher if you are not trained in CPR.

For more tips on how you can help someone who is having a cardiac arrest, please visit:

Performing chest compressions to the beat of Stayin' Alive by the Bee Gees.


It could be as minor as scalding your fingers while pouring hot water to a major burn that singes your skin. How do you treat the sensitive area? Let us debunk some old wives’ tales on what you should apply to a burn.

Myth 1: Toothpaste

You think the menthol is soothing, but not quite. The toothpaste is often filled with whitening chemicals and breath fresheners, which when applied to the damaged skin, may cause an infection, a chemical burn or further skin discolouration.

Myth 2: Ice

Putting ice on a burn cools but it can also cause frostbite and damage the skin.

Myth 3: Butter

It is better for baking than treating burns. Butter holds in heat, which prevents the burn from cooling down and can cause further tissue damage

What you should do:

  1. Clear any clothes or jewellery from injured area
  2. Cool the injured area under running water
  3. Cover the injured area
  4. Call 995
Stay Prepared Coaster

Stay Prepared coaster listing four steps to treat burns

Equipping people with the knowledge to act fast when faced with an emergency is one of the objectives of the “Stay Prepared” initiative managed by Temasek Foundation. To spread the message, specially designed coasters containing four simple steps to treat burns will be distributed to over 1 million households islandwide from May 2019.

Besides nationwide education on emergency preparedness, the coasters project had another impact: Giving ten students from the Visual Arts Club of Crest Secondary School, a confidence boost.

They used to say 'my works are not worthy to be printed'. Now they know that their skills are not as insignificant as they think

Mr Juffry Joihani, Corporate Communications Senior Executive, Crest Secondary School

Visual Arts Club Students from Crest Secondary School

Students from Visual Arts Club of Crest Secondary School proudly showing of the Stay Prepared coaster designed by them.


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