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First Force paramedics graduate

First-class aid!
The Force's first batch of qualified paramedics graduated September 14, to provide advanced first aid skills and training to specialist units.

ACP OPS Cheung Chi-shum congratulates SSGT Tong Siu-kau

Quick fix: Police special-duty paramedics demonstrate their frontline medical skills

Twenty one specialist unit officers are now qualified paramedics set to provide advanced medical training to their relative formations.

The troop completed the six-month Tactical Medicine Course in August organised by the Special Duties Unit and Hospital Authority, and received graduation certificates from Assistant Commissioner (Operations) Cheung Chi-shum at Police Tactical Unit Headquarters on September 14.

SDU taught the course through its Medical Support Team (MST) to provide specialist units with advanced paramedic training. They included the VIP Protection, Airport Security, and Police Tactical Units.

Graduates received certificates qualifying them as a Police Tactical Medic, signed by Mr Cheung and the HA's Professor R.A. Cocks. Five MST officers completed an extra module to qualify as Tactical Medic Instructors.

SDU Training Officer Paul Jackson said the course would greatly enhance the first aid instruction provided to units which require officers with advanced medical skills.

"The course was a huge success and has further elevated our MST to an even higher level of professionalism and prestige," Mr Jackson said.

"With the foundations laid by this course, the ultimate aim is to make MST the centre of tactical paramedic excellence in Hong Kong, if not in the whole of Southeast Asia."

He said MST would continue to provide first aid training at Force level to specialist units.

"This is not a one-off. It is anticipated a second course will run in 2001 and that MST personnel will be the primary instructors. And for these future courses, we will maintain close ties with the HA who will continue to provide guest lecturers and specialist advice."

The course consisted of 12 modules of one to two days each, at either PTU HQ or Tai Po Nethersole Hospital. Two modules were taught per month. It covered a host of specialist areas, such as emergency medical care and trauma, disaster and special incident management (nuclear, biological and chemical).

During the presentation, Mr Cheung told the officers: "Today marks an important benchmark in the medical training of specialist units. This has been the most technical medi-training for us so far and you are the Force's first ever batch of such medics."

Professor Cocks said: "I have taught paramedics around the world, but never before have I met a group as enthusiastic as the 21 officers who took part in this course. This group are now without doubt, the most qualified paramedics in Hong Kong, and I think their skills will not only benefit fellow officers, but also the general public."

MST Officer-in-Charge, Station Sergeant Tong Siu-kau, said he found the course a tough yet highly-educational challenge despite the wealth of experience he had already gathered with his work in the Team.

In November 1998 he saved the life of a five-year-old girl, critically slashed after her father went berserk with a chopper in their home in Yau Ma Tei.

Although her mother and younger brother were sadly killed in the attack, the girl survived thanks to the quick work and skills of SSGT Tong both at the scene and in the ambulance.

"It was very difficult going into a small place and finding blood everywhere and two small children. But in situations like that you must concentrate on saving lives as just a few minutes can make all the difference between life and death," he said.

"However, this course was very tough with a lot of things to learn and was a lot different to anything we had done before. More of the operations were high risk and there were ambulance and Accident and Emergency Department attachments."

Another graduate, Acting Sergeant Li Sze-ki said becoming a paramedic had given him a new perspective on first aid.

"Doing the course has been quite an insight for me, and an important one as I have changed my attitude in how to approach accidents and cases of people injured, and also greatly boosted my medical knowledge," he said.

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