Tackling the corona crisis: Arnold Choi, Red Cross volunteer

Arnold Choi is Energy Transition Advisor at ExxonMobil in Rotterdam, the Netherlands, and Red Cross volunteer. In that capacity, he is dealing with the corona crisis. An interview.

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Tackling the corona crisis: Arnold Choi, Red Cross volunteer

What exactly do you do at the Red Cross?

I am in the so-called "Emergency Crisis Response Team". The Red Cross has several departments, both at home and abroad. This is a domestic department. Every crisis - by which we mean every emergency situation involving more than twenty people - counts as a large-scale incident. Think of accidents, explosions or terrorism. As members, we are then called upon to assist, among others, ambulance personnel during the triage of victims, so that we can assist with resuscitation, for example.

What are your experiences now regarding the coronavirus?

As an Emergency Crisis Responder, we are now helping during this corona crisis in many different places in the Netherlands. We work in nursing homes, hospitals, at GPs, transport patients from place-to-place. I myself now work as Team leader in several of the HMC hospitals in The Hague. We test everyone who enters the hospital for symptoms of corona. We ask people if they have complaints such as coughing and measure their temperature.

Avoiding and reducing infections is important. Many people don't know they are sick; you can infect people without obvious symptoms. Asymptomatic people can potentially contaminate vulnerable patients at the hospital. So the first step at all hospitals is to check everyone who enters. This applies to visitors, suppliers, people of the pharmacy; everyone is tested. Hospital security does not have the capacity for this, so that testing is done by volunteers from the Red Cross. Part my role as a team leader is to train new volunteers quickly, arrange personal protective equipment such as masks, glasses, gloves and aprons, make sure they get breaks, and I’ll bring them coffee as well.

How do you keep yourself and others safe these days?

We follow a whole list of protocols and safety steps, such as washing your hands regularly with soap, putting on your mask and goggles, putting on your apron and putting on your gloves. Also, you have to change or disinfect gloves when working with other patients. Masks should be changed every few hours.

How do you experience the support of your management at ExxonMobil?

Very well. Long before the corona crisis broke out, I already got permission to work at the Red Cross. I am part of the Emergency Crisis Response Team, so that may mean that I have to leave my job in practice. Now during the corona crisis, I have only heard positive things from my executives and site managers. In addition, ExxonMobil has made a donation to the Red Cross from the Volunteer Fund. All of that gives me a lot of positive energy.