Citizens in emergency picture

Local | Cindy Wan 6 Nov 2018

A new division has been set up by the Fire Services Department to tackle the fact many people do not know how to react properly in an emergency.

The problem has been illustrated starkly at times with people opting to taking photographs of a developing incident instead of lending a helping hand.

This was a particular aberration during a firebomb attack on an MTR train last year, when some commuters were more intent on taking photographs and recording videos than protecting themselves and others.

Wong Wang-leong, senior officer in the just-created Community Emergency Preparedness Division, said the aim of the new unit is to save lives.

Using cardiac arrest as an example, Wong said a person's survival rate drops by 7-10 percent a minute if nobody carries out cardiopulmonary resuscitation. But if someone restores a heartbeat, he said, survival chances are greatly increased.

"Be brave and you can save others," Wong said.

The division was set up on October 2 by firemen and officers of the Information Services Department to instruct people in correct ways to handle emergencies.

The Fire Services Department has now centralized all promotional resources within the new division and established a Facebook page.

Lessons to be learnt include how to extinguish fires, first aid and survival skills, and knowledge will be disseminated in various way, including through classes, booklets and campus seminars.

The Facebook page, launched yesterday, also delivers instant news in times of major incidents.

The department aims to protect tourists as well, especially those inexperienced when it comes to typhoons and hiking.

And there will also be guidelines on how to deal with common travel accidents and staying safe in the event of a terrorist attack.

The department is also reaching out to domestic helpers.

With this flurry of action comes a blue character named Anyone to help with education. In fact, there were a couple of blue characters in action yesterday to promote the notion "Anyone can save people."

But Anyone was mocked online, with some claiming there was an uncomfortable resemblance to a Japanese pornography character.

On a more serious side, barrister Albert Luk Wai-hung told people not to be too concerned about legal responsibilities when going to the rescue of a stranger.

Risks of running afoul of the law "are very low if you follow appropriate first aid procedures," he said. And if a person is so badly hurt their life is in the balance "a rescuer has no responsibility for a death."

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