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Fire Services launches life-saving training for OFWs

18 July 2018

By Vir B. Lumicao

Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong could be potential lifesavers after learning basic skills from the Fire Services Department on how to respond to life-threatening emergencies in their employers’ homes.

This was according to FSD and Consulate officials who graced the launching on Sunday, Jul 8, of the “Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation/Press to Shock – Save a Life” Defibrillation Course and “Fire Safety Ambassador Scheme” at the Sheung Wan Fire Station.
Volunteer OFWs go through the routines of saving a life in case of an emergency with the guidance of a HK Fire Services emergency officer. 

The training program offered jointly by the FSD, the Philippine Consulate General and the Domestic Workers Empowerment Project will be held initially at the Consulate on Jul 15 and subsequent six sessions will be held at the Sheung Wan Fire Station.

In his welcome remarks, FSD Director Li Kin-yat cited the crucial role of Filipino helpers in the homes of their employers.

“There is a growing concern about our capability in handling life-threatening emergencies such as out-of-hospital cardiac arrest patient scenarios,” Li said, adding that the survival rate in such cases is higher if CPR/defibrillation is applied soon enough.

So, in August 2017, the FSD started the “CPR /Press to Shock – Save a Life” program with tailor-made skills training manuals in Filipino, Indonesian, Korean, Thai and other languages for the various ethnic groups in Hong Kong.

After noting that Filipinos make up the largest group of domestic helpers in Hong Kong, Li said that as the primary caregivers to many children and the elderly, they can play a key role in making the city a safer place. 

In response, Consul General Antonio Morales thanked the FSD and DWEP for co-organizing the CPR/defibrillation training program. Echoing Li’s remarks, Morales said the program will not only benefit the workers but also the families of their employers.

Morales said the role of the Filipino workers is critical in saving lives.

“There are around 200,000 Filipino domestic workers in Hong Kong, that makes you 200,000 potential life-savers,” he said. 

He said the training will equip the workers with life-saving skills and make them more effective workers.

“One of the priorities of the Consulate’s goal is to offer the community … capacity-building initiatives that will equip you with the knowledge to improve your skills and other knowledge to improve your lives in the future,” he said.

Graduates of the program will receive certificates as fire-safety ambassadors.

DWEP representative Analyn Soriano noted that the training will not only help the workers in doing their jobs, but would also be beneficial to their families and their community back home.

In an interview, Li told The SUN that before the start of the CPR/defibrillation program, FSD conducted fire safety and health education courses for various ethnic groups, including Filipinos.

But he said this is the first life-saving program in which Filipino workers are being trained. He added the FSD aims to train 10% of the city’s population, which in 2017 was estimated to have reached 7.36 million.

“The Filipino domestic workers are part of Hong Kong, so they are included. So we will continue our efforts in extending such education not only to the Filipino community but also to the different ethnic communities in Hong Kong,” Li said.

The launch of the CPR/Defibrillation training program for Filipino workers is part of the FSD’s celebration of its 150th anniversary.

Joining Morales in the event were Deputy Consul General Roderico Atienza and Vice Consul Fatima Quintin.

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