'I was inspired to give the same relief to others': Paramedic on how her grandfather’s fall led her to a career with SCDF

'I was inspired to give the same relief to others': Paramedic on how her grandfather’s fall led her to a career with SCDF
PHOTO: AsiaOne

Pearlyn Chee's first brush with the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) happened when she was just 8 years old.

It was supposed to be a day like any other, until her grandfather fell in the living room and lost consciousness. Her grandmother was frozen in shock, so Pearlyn stepped up and dialed 995 for help.

When pressed for details, the now 20-year-old apologised for not remembering much as it happened a long time ago. However, she recalled feeling scared, anxious, and subsequently, relieved when the paramedics showed up at her door shortly after.

That, coupled with the paramedics' professional handling of her grandfather, left an indelible mark on Pearlyn.

And now, 12 years later, she is responding to similar calls for help as a paramedic with the SCDF.

"I was very inspired to give the same relief and medical assistance to others," she says. 

Home Team: Keeping Singapore safe and secure

The SCDF is just one out of the 10 departments under the Home Team concept.

First launched on Feb 24, 1997 by then-Minister for Home Affairs Mr Wong Kan Seng, the Home Team concept centres around the idea that while each department under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) performs a specific role, they all share a common mission of keeping Singapore safe and secure.

The other Home Team departments are: the Singapore Police Force (SPF), Internal Security Department (ISD), Immigration & Checkpoints Authority (ICA), Singapore Prison Service (SPS), Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB), Home Team Academy (HTA), Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX), Gambling Regulatory Authority (GRA) and Yellow Ribbon Singapore (YRSG).

"Today, the Home Team concept underpins the way each of our departments train, plan, and work with each other. It is now pretty standard and routine for our departments to do up joint plans both for major events as well as routine incidents, they train together, and they deal with situations as one team," said Minister for Home Affairs and Law, K Shanmugam on Saturday (Feb 24).

He was speaking at the launch of Home Team Day, held last Saturday at Home TeamNS Bedok Reservoir Clubhouse. Moving forward, Home Team Day will be commemorated every year on Feb 24.

Minister Shanmugam added that this "working as one" approach has served Singapore well in dealing with situations such as the Nicoll Highway collapse, the Little India Riot, and the Covid-19 pandemic.

A rewarding career with the Home Team

Pearlyn's career choice was, in part, influenced by her father, who was in the Navy, and her older sister, who is a staff officer with the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority (ICA).

"They've always told me that passion is very important - passion fuels everything," shares Pearlyn. In fact, it was her sister who encouraged her to apply for the Home Team Diploma Study Award.

Open to both male and female students, the Home Team Diploma sponsorship covers the recipient's tuition fees and other approved charges, provides them with a monthly allowance and awards them with a study bonus if they pass all modules in a semester.

Recipients of this sponsorship will then serve at a Home Team department of their choice after completing their diploma studies.

Upon graduating from Nanyang Polytechnic with a diploma in biomedical engineering, Pearlyn started her career with the SCDF. She first underwent the Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training and is currently undergoing a paramedicine course.

And for the past eight months, she was attached to Tampines Fire Station where she worked 12-hour shifts, alongside the Emergency Medical Services crew, responding to a gamut of incidents such as road traffic accidents, medical emergencies and trauma cases.

She describes this time as incredibly fulfilling because it allowed her to make a positive impact, not just medically but also emotionally.

"I was able to provide [my patients] with reassurance and comfort, which is also a crucial aspect of our work," she elaborates.

She adds: "Seeing the relief on their faces and hearing their heartfelt appreciation at the end of the day really makes my shift worthwhile."

ALSO READ: 'He was consuming his bodily fluids': SCDF paramedics share their most memorable experiences on the job


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