Singapore: Grassroots leaders to receive training on how to help residents deal with terror attack

According to reports, the Human Emergency Assistance and Response (HEART) teams will assist in the training.

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Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said on Sunday that Grassroots leaders will receive formal training on how to help residents respond and deal with the psychological effects of a terror attack. According to reports, the Human Emergency Assistance and Response (HEART) teams will assist in the training, which will help in identification of residents who exhibit post-terror stress.

Channel News Asia stated that psychologists and counsellors from the Home Team, Ministry of Social and Family Development and the Institute of Mental Health, will teach grassroots leaders and residents psychological first aid (PFA), starting from this month.

PFA, developed by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs in 2006 and certified by the World Health Organisation (WHO), helps to provide immediate psychological and practical support to victims of a traumatic incident, which in turn helps to reduce post-traumatic stress disorder and distress.

The training involves a four-hour course and grassroots members, from all 89 constituencies, will undergo the training, reported the news agency.

"People will be nervous, be anxious, will be stressed, and you need to reassure them, calm them down, bring them back to become normal again, and give them emotional and psychological support," said Mr Lee, while speaking at an Emergency Preparedness Day event at his Teck Ghee ward, as reported.

"We do EP day every year...We take it seriously because the terrorist threat is a serious one, we see it around us," he added.

This training programme is a part of SGSecure, which is a government initiative to help Singaporeans be prepared for a terror attack. The Government believes that an attack is "not a matter of if, but when", and need grassroots groups, religious organisations and the public to work closely together to counter it.

PM Lee encouraged the residents to learn lifesaving skills, like how to use an AED, to stay up to date with the news and to use the SGSecure app, which was launched in September last year. The application is there for the public to receive alerts during major disasters and to send information to the police.

Moreover, from Sunday, subscribers can configure the app to receive alerts by keying in postal codes, for example, homes, schools or office buildings.