Singapore’s urban landscape has seen rapid developments over recent years, driven by the growing socio-economic demands. The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) fire safety regulations has been evolving in tandem with the developments in the building industry.
The SCDF has fostered a close working relationship with the building industry; working together to overcome building challenges, raising construction productivity and also creating new opportunities in building design. This partnership has been a win-win formula in which the SCDF will continue to grow and nurture as we explore and develop new fire safety standards to meet the building developments of tomorrow.
The development of the Jurong Lake District, Singapore’s second business district, is one such example. It is planned as a mixed-use precinct comprising high-rise offices, retail, food and beverage, entertainment space and hotels. With this, fire safety becomes even a greater challenge for architects and building professionals in instituting smart fire safety regulations that ensure spaces are not only fire safe, but conducive for use as well.
One area that the SCDF will be embarking on is harnessing the full potential of technology in fire safety. As the urban landscape and industrial developments continue to evolve, technology can be used as a force multiplier to help keep up with the modernity in building design and at the same time, ensuring that adequate fire safety considerations and provisions are instituted as well. For example, the SCDF is looking into the feasibility of introducing the Video Image Fire Detection System (VIFDS) in the Fire Code.
Using video analytics and advanced image processing, the VIFDS performs several functions. For instance, it is able to detect the presence of fire and smoke at its incipient stage within seconds and alerts the designated alarm monitoring station or fire command centre within the building. The fire, which can be remotely ascertained through real-time video images, would help to reduce the occasions in which fire engines are despatched due to false activation of the fire alarm system. In addition, the VIFDS offers Qualified Persons the flexibility in fire safety design for the concept of future-ready buildings.
Equally important to fire safety is the SCDF response to emergencies. On the operational front, the SCDF has transformed its Emergency Medical Services (EMS). SCDF firefighters have been cross-trained as Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT) and are being deployed on fire bikes to stabilise critical casualties suffering from life threatening emergencies before the arrival of the ambulances. In May this year, the SCDF unveiled a new hybrid Fire-Medical Vehicle (FMV) which is equipped to respond to both fire as well as EMS incidents. The EMT response on both fire bike and FMV play a part in the EMS tiered-response framework. This framework is premised on firstly, differentiating the calls based on the seriousness of the patients’ medical condition. Secondly, matching the scale of SCDF resources and speed of response to the severity of each call. It is based on case acuity, of prioritizing patients to the differing nature of emergencies, from the most critical life-threatening emergencies to minor emergencies and non-emergencies.
On the training front, the Home Team Tactical Centre was officially opened in October 2015. It housed a slew of best-in-class training simulators. Some of which include the Chemical Hub which provides training for HazMat incidents with variable intensity levels, an Urban Search and Rescue (USAR) complex for rescuers to hone their skills in USAR operations as well as a Marine Firefighting and Rescue simulator comprising a realistic replication of a ship with complete internal structures and compartments. Such state-of-the-art training facilities provide SCDF responders with realistic training experiences to closely mirror the different types of emergency situations that can occur.
The Civil Defence Academy (CDA) will also undergo a major redevelopment programme from 2018 to 2022. The new CDA will bring training in emergency response to a new and unprecedented level. Notably, the National EMS Training Centre and a Leadership Centre for Disaster Management will be established within the premises.
This is the third Fire Safety Asia Conference (FiSAC) co-organised by the National Fire and Civil Emergency Preparedness Council (NFEC) and the SCDF. We have received encouraging feedback from participants of the previous two conferences, with many of them acknowledging the conference as an excellent platform for building and fire safety professionals, incident managers as well as fire practitioners to share ideas, experiences and best practices. It is with this in mind that we continue with this triennial gathering in the spirit of learning from one another to better the fire safety standards and best practices in incident management. I am also certain that the enriching line up of keynote speakers, conference papers and discussions will foster a rich reservoir of fresh ideas and perspectives in the fire safety and firefighting fraternity.
I wish to thank all participants for your unwavering support for this event, and hope that you have a fruitful and engaging FiSAC 2017.