​It is light, portable and fits easily into your wallet, purse or pocket, just like a credit card. But most importantly, it can potentially help save lives.

Members of public can now be assisted when performing Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) on cardiac arrest victims, thanks to the CPRcard. A pilot initiative by the Ministry of Health’s Unit for Pre-Hospital Emergency Care (UPEC), this simple device is set to be a game-changer for pre-hospital emergency response. The CPRcard is the result of a collaboration between UPEC and Laerdal Medical (in Norway), a company which produces portable medical equipment.

200 residents, including volunteers from the People’s Association’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) will have the opportunity to experience the new CPRcard hands-on, in a mass training at the Chua Chu Kang Health and Sports Carnival, on Sunday, June 11.

This initiative is part of the Community First Responder Programme (CFRP), a collaboration between MOH and PA. It aims to strengthen the community’s level of preparedness and responsiveness in emergencies by equipping more people with life-saving and first aid skills. Since 2014, more than 26,000 people have been trained at community clubs and grassroots events across Singapore to assist during cardiac emergencies.

Administering CPR and how the CPRcard works

When attending to someone who has suffered a cardiac arrest, the first four minutes are crucial to the victim’s survival. After calling for an ambulance, CPR should be performed immediately to ensure there is continuous blood flow to the brain and heart before paramedics arrive. But often, bystanders hesitate to perform CPR. Currently, the bystander CPR rate in Singapore is 40%, compared to up to 80% in other countries. We can do better.

The CPRcard provides on-the-spot feedback to responders on whether the chest compressions they are giving are deep and fast enough to keep the patient’s blood flowing. The responder simply places the card on the victim’s chest before starting CPR, and the card then monitors the quality of their compressions.

“In using the CPRcard, an ordinary by-stander at the scene of a cardiac arrest will have more confidence in administering CPR. By providing responders with real-time feedback to guide them in performing high quality chest compressions, we can help save a patient’s life even before they reach the hospital. This will redefine the way CPR is taught and practised,” said Associate Professor Marcus Ong, Medical Director, UPEC and Senior Consultant, Department of Emergency Medicine, Singapore General Hospital.

Participants of the CPRcard training will be enrolled in a study which will evaluate whether the device has helped bystanders become more confident in administering chest compressions. 4,000 cards have already been distributed to study participants. UPEC hopes to distribute another 11,000 CPRcards to trained individuals in the community as part of this study, by August, 2018.

Residents between the ages of 11 and 74, are encouraged to undergo Community First Responder Training with the CPRcard by contacting their local CC. They can register their interest at the following email address: pa_iknowmyneighbours@pa.gov.sg