Ravindran Sockalingam knows first-hand how it felt to have a heart attack. Even though it happened eight years ago, he still recalled vividly how he suddenly became breathless and broke out in cold sweat at a community event.
Despite facing possible death, the Senior Associate Director from NUS Office of Safety, Health and Environment (OSHE) was reassured that his seven grassroots leaders knew what to do should his heart stop while waiting for an ambulance. He had trained them in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and the use of an automated external defibrillator (AED), and was fully confident of their ability.
Ravi always relates this personal encounter whenever he conducts CPR classes to underscore the importance of learning CPR. “I’m very selfish; I train people to help me,” he quipped.
On a more serious note, he urged everyone to encourage family members and friends to acquire life-saving skills for their own sake, and not just because of work requirements. “If every household has at least one person with CPR or first-aid knowledge, the current low survival rate of heart attack will be greatly improved,” he stressed.
A life-saving course for the NUS community
Ravi is proud that OSHE is producing 500 to 600 trained CPR providers annually, contributing to the community in Singapore. NUS security, food operators and even cleaners are given opportunities to undergo the NUS CPR+AED Familiarisation training. Spouses and children of NUS staff too are offered the opportunity to attend the course.
The CPR advocate shared about a 13-year-old who performed CPR on his father following Singapore Civil Defence Force’s hotline instructions over the phone. He strongly believes that if this young teenager could perform CPR without prior experience, those trained will be of greater help to society.
More than 6,000 staff and students have undergone the NUS CPR+AED Familiarisation training. Ravi also supports national life saving events regularly as a trainer. Even so, the biggest challenge lies in persuading more people to take up CPR training to equip themselves with life-saving skills, he admitted.
Safety is everyone’s business; we need more staff to be involved in safety management.
Besides training, Ravi conducts workshops and talks on safety and crisis management for events, activities and overseas trips – including safety advisory and guidance, reviewing safety management plans for key events, and mentoring students to inculcate a safety culture. He enjoys working with students and feels reassured by their high level of safety considerations at events.
Ravi believes that every little safety exercise a student experiences will go a long way, and he derives a great deal of fulfilment engaging them. “The most fruitful thing for me is nurturing a safety culture among our students and I feel gratified when they thank me for the valuable lessons learned.”