Secondary school students receive SCDF award for rendering assistance during traffic accident

The 16-year-old girls administered first aid on a badly injured motorcyclist.

Celeste Lim

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Published: 9 April 2021, 12:57 PM

Tan Ler Xen, Lee Jill and Zoe Teo were on the way home from a St John Brigade training session when they heard a loud bang.

The 16-year-old Dunman High School students turned around to see two motorcyclists lying on the road. 

A motorcycle had skidded across the road, and two oncoming vehicles – a car and another motorcycle – could not brake in time. 

The ensuing crash resulted in two casualties, both of whom were migrant workers. One was stuck under his motorcycle, and the other had a contused and bleeding forehead as well as a deep cut on his left arm. 

As they knew that lifting the motorcycle may aggravate the motorcyclist’s injuries, the girls quickly moved to help the other casualty. 

“During the situation itself, we didn’t really have time to think about anything other than treating the casualty,” said Jill, who reassured the casualty as Ler Xen immediately ran to the nearest MRT station to retrieve a first-aid kit. Once Ler Xen returned, the trio got to work.


Zoe, who had issued directions to the girls, comforted an elderly passer-by who was crying from shock. PHOTO CREDIT: DUNMAN HIGH SCHOOL


Jill applied direct pressure on the casualty’s bleeding arm, and elevated it above heart level. Meanwhile, Zoe prepared sterile wash and gauze for the casualty’s injuries and Ler Xen secured the sterile gauze around the casualty’s forehead. 

Zoe said: “Normally we would tie a scalp bandage for his head wound. But his injuries looked quite serious, so in order not to aggravate them, we decided to tie a bandage loosely instead.”


Ler Xuan (left) applied what she had learnt during CCA training, but made some improvisations to provide the casualty with more comfort. PHOTO CREDIT: DUNMAN HIGH SCHOOL


Within five minutes of tending to the casualties, two Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) ambulances arrived and paramedics took over. After assisting the SMRT staff to make a police report, the three girls went home – like it was just an ordinary day – and told their parents what had happened.

Jill said: “It was only when everything was settled that it started dawning on us what had just happened.” 

A month later, the three girls received the honourable SCDF Community Lifesaver Award.


Students (from left to right) Jill, Ler Xuan and Zoe felt awed to receive the SCDF award, as they never expected to contribute to society by helping someone with first aid. PHOTO CREDIT: DUNMAN HIGH SCHOOL


Staying calm thanks to St John training

The girls were able to pull off the impressive feat with grace and poise, something they attribute to their training in their St John Brigade CCA.

Although the accident was their first time dealing with real injuries, including a bleeding casualty, their simulated training that included fake injuries taught them to stay calm and react accordingly.

Gaining leadership experience through St John also gave them the confidence to calmly administer the emergency first-aid. 

“I was quite proud of my self-development and growth,” said Jill, who added that she would not have had the courage to step up if it were not for the confidence she developed through her CCA.


Students (from left to right) Jill, Ler Xuan and Zoe felt awed to receive the SCDF award, as they never expected to contribute to society by helping someone with first aid. PHOTO CREDIT: DUNMAN HIGH SCHOOL


Zoe added: “We spent four years together, so things like professionalism and care for one another are deep down inside us now. Whatever we do, we’ll follow these morals.”

The girls hope that sharing this experience will encourage their school population to step up and help others. More importantly, they hope that their CCA juniors will learn the importance of learning first aid correctly, inspiring them to be more enthusiastic and motivated during training.

Importance of learning first aid

Ler Xen shared that she decided to join St John Brigade as she felt like first aid would be useful – and it did prove to be useful in that accident.

For passers-by who face a similar situation but don’t know first aid, the Year 4 girls suggested that they could do crowd control and render assistance to any first aiders that arrive. 

However, they cited the accident as a good example of unexpected circumstances, and emphasised that it would be best for passers-by to have first aid skills.


Zoe said that it is important for people to be equipped with the relevant knowledge to help people around them, as “you never know when you’ll need it”. PHOTO CREDIT: DUNMAN HIGH SCHOOL


Their CCA teacher, Low Xin Tian, said: “Other than being very proud of them, we hope that this encounter will be an inspiration to their peers and juniors, for them to see what it really means to be learning what they’re doing. 

“It doesn’t just stop at the training. It continues in their day-to-day experiences.” 


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