Comr Eric Yap Wee Teck
Commissioner of the Singapore Civil Defence Force
In the last three decades, Singapore has undergone a rapid and radical transformation of its urban landscape propelled by socio-economic needs. Today, the island nation is a vibrant garden city as succinctly depicted on the cover page if this brochure which features the new defining skyline of downtown Marina Bay.
By the year 2030, Singapore population is targeted to grow to over 6 million people. Like many populous metropolitan cities, this would not only result in the mushrooming of skyscrapers but also in the sprouting of mixed-use premises with even deeper subterranean or underground spaces. This new wave in building design features would present unique challenges for building professionals and the regulatory authorities. Sophisticated building design features coupled with high occupancy load may also complicate any disaster management.
The high fire safety reputation that Singapore enjoys did not occur by chance. It is a culmination of a robust regulatory framework that constantly takes into cognisance the evolving transformation in building design features an effective fire safety enforcement system, and a successful public fire safety awareness programme led by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).
SCDF’s approach to regulating fire safety has also evolved over the years in tandem with industry developments. For instance, the adoption of the performance-based fire safety approach opens new opportunities for building designs to be creative yet achieving the objectives of fire safety. The SCDF also works closely with developers and building owners to creatively overcome building design challenges and raise construction productivity. A pertinent example is the formulation of fire safety requirement for the use of Cross Laminated Timber in building construction in Singapore which comes into effect this year.
On the disaster management front, SCDF continues to invest extensively on the training of its emergency responders. The new Home Team Tactical Centre, which will open in early 2015, offers a range of fire and rescue simulators to provide SCDF responders with realistic training scenarios. In terms of equipping, SCDF leverages the latest technology as a force multiplier. This includes the deployment of fire bikes and the in-house designed Light Fire Attack Vehicle which is equipped with the latest compressed air foam fire suppression system. In April this year, SCDF unveiled its latest Unmanned Fire-fighting Machine. This remote-controlled machine is capable of delivering intense water mist, foam application and high velocity ventilation to support penetration into intense fire environment, including deep subterranean facilities, with just a direct connection from any hydrant.
The Fire Safety Asia Conference (FiSAC) is a platform for building industry practitioners and disaster managers from both locally and overseas to network and share ideas, experiences and best practices. More importantly, I wish to see this triennial gathering continue to grow and germinate refreshing ideas on fire safety design and new breakthrough on disaster mitigation concept. I am also pleased to share with all of you on other exciting events that the SCDF will be organising in Singapore during the same period as the FiSAC. We have termed the second week of September (8th to 14th September) the “SCDF Ready Week” in which there are four back-to-back events namely: (1) FiSAC. (2) the conference of the International Fire Chiefs’ Association of Asia (IFCAA), (3) the SCDF Day Parade out more about the SGFPC, with its flagship emergency preparedness exhibition cum hands-on engagement, in its dedicated website at www.sgfpc.org.
On this note, let me conclude by stating that the SCDF is proud to once again collaborate with the National Fire and Civil Emergency Preparedness Council (NFEC) to jointly organise FiSAC 2017. I look forward to your support in FiSAC as well as in the other events held in conjunction with the “SCDF Ready Week” in mid-September 2017.