Trained in emergency preparedness, Adept at emergency response

A regular movie outing with friends gave way to an emergency situation in the cinema. A former Red Cross Youth cadet’s quick thinking saved the day.

Mr Sebastian Koo, 19, was enjoying a movie with his four long-time friends at a suburban shopping mall in the afternoon of 30 August 2020.

About an hour into the sci-fi action-thriller, the ceiling gave way. Resembling a cataclysmic scene from the movie, the ventilation duct came crashing down, just two rows from where they were seated.

Calmly, Sebastian swung into action - asking if the movie-goers were alright, and urging them to leave quickly through their nearest exit. 

Realising that a female was injured, Sebastian conducted the primary survey and performed a Rapid Body Survey swiftly. She was conscious and breathing normally, but sustained a head injury. He then visually scanned for other signs of blood besides her head and any other injuries she might have sustained. 

On 25 October 2020, Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) conferred Sebastian and his four friends with the SCDF Community Lifesaver Awards for their courage, quick-thinking, and selflessness. 

Recounting the experience, Sebastian credited his Red Cross Youth training for his ability to manage the situation and respond to emergencies. He was a Red Cross Youth (RCY) Cadet in St Gabriel’s Secondary School from 2014 to 2017.

“Thanks to the many first aid and disaster management lessons as well as the many hours preparing for the First Aid Championships, I am now able to manage emergencies calmly and confidently,” affirmed Sebastian.

Just as RCY has ingrained in youth the importance of teamwork, cooperation was integral to managing the situation at the cinema.

“I relied on my friends to evacuate the affected cinema-goers while I tended to the casualty. Knowing they had my back enabled me to stay calm while administering first aid to the casualty,” he shared.

Memories of Red Cross Youth

Back in 2014, Sebastian joined RCY as a co-curricular activity in secondary school, as he was passionate about helping others, and wanted to learn useful first aid skills. 

“First aid will always be a useful skill no matter where you are in life. However, first aid knowledge is useless if you are in a panic mode and your mind turns blank out of fear. Not only does RCY equip you with essential life-saving skills, you will also learn to manage stressful situations so you can save people in need. RCY inspires us to muster the courage to help others,” shared Sebastian.

Over the four years in RCY, Sebastian planned first aid and disaster management lessons for his juniors, treated and evacuated casualties in mock fire drills, provided first aid treatments to schoolmates at sports meets, and took part in National Day Parades first aid coverages. 

He reflects upon his experience, “Faced with casualties, I became more compassionate and I learnt to keep calm. To me, nothing hurts more than the regret of knowing there was something I could have done to help, but opting to remain a bystander. RCY empowered me to take a more proactive stance by extending a hand to those in need.” 

Story by Sondra Foo, Corporate Communications