On standby for emergencies

#OpsMASCOV volunteer pushing a patient into the ambulance during one of the inter-facility transfers.

For 22-year-old Tee Ke Ran, what started as a mere co-curricular activity in school has morphed into a decade-long passion to serve the public.

Tee joined St John Ambulance of Malaysia (SJAM) as it was part of compulsory participation of a uniform unit in school.

Her first voluntary duty as a member was during a blood donation drive, which inspired her to eventually donate blood right after her 17th birthday.

Over the years, she has devoted her time and effort to learn more about becoming an effective first responder.

Tee is among 230 SJAM members who have volunteered for #OpsMASCOV to support and provide assistance to government hospitals, health clinics and accident hotspots at eight locations in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Melaka, Negri Sembilan and Johor.

MASCOV is short for Medical Auxiliary Service for Covid-19.

SJAM’s history dates back to World War II when members were drafted into the Medical Auxiliary Service to serve at first aid posts in war zones.

“I learnt the value of sacrifice from inspiring events like this.

The opportunity to learn from medical officers and first aid trainers in SJAM has motivated me to pursue a medical degree,” said Tee.

The third-year medical student has taken part in humanitarian activities like disaster relief aside from lifesaving first aid standby duties.

Since the beginning of #OpsMASCOV on April 13, the 230 SJAM members have been working on rotational shifts of eight to 12 hours each.

To-date, SJAM has utilised 27 ambulances and handled 59 emergency cases, 30 non-emergency cases and 48 inter-facility transfers.

Tee’s daily duties include reporting her health condition and temperature, recorded using an online form prepared by SJAM national headquarters. She then checks on log books for cases and reports that preceded her shift.

Volunteers also clean and disinfect ambulances daily and after handling every case.

Upon calls from nearest hospitals or health clinics, SJAM volunteers may need to handle emergencies like motor vehicle accidents, medical emergencies and trauma cases.

At times, hospitals request for ambulances to transfer patients from one hospital to another.

Asked if she was worried about getting infected when handling ambulance cases, especially during the Covid-19 outbreak, Tee said the volunteers ensured proper procedure and precautionary measures were taken seriously.

“Preparations and prior training also help me to set my fears aside,” she said.

According to SJAM honorary secretary-general Hoo We Tak, ordinary Malaysians who volunteer with SJAM are trained and kept abreast on first aid skills in preparation for times like this.

“As a non-governmental organisation solely dependant on public funds, we have stretched our limits in several initiatives to fight Covid-19,” he said.

Tee, who has been on duty every day since the beginning of #OpsMASCOV, has some concerns.

“I worry that with the extension of the MCO and #OpsMASCOV, the supply of personal protective equipment (PPEs) may not be sufficient for us,” she said.

She hoped the public would come forward to donate such items to SJAM.

Donations of PPE can be arranged for collection by sending an email to admin@sjam.org.my

For details, contact Hoo at wetak@sjam.org.my

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