You are residing in Singapore. You live in this tiny red dot, high rise buildings all around you, air conditioners almost everywhere you go. Everything that you need is within reach- food, water, shelter. In fact, the closest thing you can get to the wilderness is your neighbourhood park, just a mere 10 to 15 minutes’ away from your house. So why should you learn how to tie a reef knot for a tent, or how to start a fire? You probably will not use it anytime in your life right? Wrong- such survival skills could be essential and even save your life in the near future.  

Why we should learn

1.     Not an IF, but a WHEN


Let’s face it; we all know that life is not a bed of roses. It is filled with uncertainty- even more so today where extremists’ acts and the impact of climate change are starting to come to light. There is statistical truth that large natural disasters are increasing with frequency and intensity with each passing year. Every day, unsuspecting people are thrust into sudden survival scenarios where they must rely on their knowledge of survival. A car accident, a fire, flash floods- these are just the few of the many situations that you may get yourself in. The usage of survival skills no longer hinges on whether a situation will happen, but rather the time that it will happen. Your life and that of your loved ones, may well be hinged on your knowledge of survival.


2.     Opportunities

Having survival skills can also have additional benefits besides your safety. It can open more doors in terms of employment too. Having these additional skills may help in your job, depending on the type of industry that you would like to be in. It can also be your full time job! For instance, you could be teaching basic survival skills to schoolchildren or even working adults. It can also provide you more travel opportunity, being more confident that you will be able to survive, should you be lost while backpacking in India or Mexico. 

The most important skill- First Aid

Of course, there are many other survival skills like how to start a fire or how to purify water, but the most important skill that you should obtain is first aid skills.


During any situation you are in, you cannot expect to always have professional help on hand. The 5 to 10 minutes before help arrives could be crucial to a person’s survival. Knowing what to do in different situations and how to treat injuries could prove helpful in a life or death situation. For instance, knowing how to apply cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) could save a life during a heart attack or the Heimlich Manoeuvre can save your loved one if he or she is choking. More importantly, knowing what to do when being thrust into sudden chaotic situations like a fire can help save lives and even your assets.

Where to learn First Aid

Luckily, learning basic first aid does not come at a high cost. There are many self-help books as well as courses offered in Singapore.

Self-help book: First Aid Manual

You can get this at any bookstore including popular or Kinokuniya. The manual is used all over the world and is a comprehensive guide to treating casualties of all ages in any emergencies. From first aid essentials to life saving procedures, this book gives you the knowledge that you will need if someone falls ill or gets hurt at home or at work. This will only set you back at less than SGD$30.

Community Programmes

The Community First Responder Programme is a collaboration between PA, MOH and SCDF aims to enhance Singapore’s community level of preparedness and responsiveness in emergencies. The programme offers fully subsidized first aid courses for residents. In addition, there are activities and other programmes all year round where you can take advantage of. Do visit your nearest community centres to find out more.

If you are a student, schools even have CCAs like Red Cross and the St. John Ambulance Brigade where students can take part in. It is never too early to start learning basic first aid skills as you may never know when you will need to utilise your knowledge to save someone’s life!