Singapore’s approach to educating Singaporeans on the dangers of fire hazards and how we can prevent it.
Most Singaporeans would have heard about the recent London Grenfell Tower that was caught on fire back in June this year, ultimately resulting in the death of 80 innocent people with the total death toll expected to rise. It was such a tragic incident that could have been avoided if the necessary actions were taken to prevent it from happening.
When it comes to fire safety, it is a topic that is not regularly discussed among Singaporeans. In fact, the only time that fire safety is addressed is when something catches fire. Fire safety is the standard procedures that one takes to minimise the destruction caused by fire; common fire hazards include kitchen fires and overheating of electric appliances to major fire hazards which include the likes of explosives, forest fires and buildings catching fire; which I discussed in the beginning.
Singapore is a country that takes fire safety seriously. Various organisations in Singapore such as the SCDF (Singapore Civil Defence Force) and SkillsFuture; to name a few, conduct courses and workshops on preventing fires. Courses which range from “Fire Safety in Buildings”, “Fire Safety Manager” and “Respond to Fire Incident in Workplace” are some of the courses offered by SkillsFuture to help equip participants with the relevant knowledge and skills that can be used in the event of a fire. Government bodies and news outlets too have published articles on fire safety so that we Singaporeans know what to do in the event of a fire.
Singapore 2016 Statistics of Fires
According to statistics provided by the SCDF, in the year of 2016, the total number of fire calls dropped from 4,604 in 2015 to 4,114 in 2016 – the lowest number of fire calls recorded since 1978, this was also a decrease of 10.6% from 2015. Fires in residential premises and non-residential premises went down 2.8% and 8.9% respectively, compared to 2015. The most frequent cause of fires in 2016 was light cases, which contributed to 2,169 cases (52.7%), and the number of fire injuries in 2016 was 62, which was a significant decrease of 44.1% from 2015.
In recent years, most organisations and companies have started hiring a dedicated Company Safety Officer or Workplace Safety and Health Officer (WSHO). Company Safety Officers are professionals who specialise in environmental and occupational health and safety, often having years of experience working in a Workplace Safety and Health (WSH)-related designation. The role of the Company Safety Officer is to monitor workplace health by accessing hazardous situations and developing preventive measures to assure safety in the company.
Even though statistics have shown that the number of fire-related incidents has decreased, the imminent threat of fire hazards still exists everywhere, and it only takes one small, momentary lapse of attention to start a fire. All it takes for us to prevent a fire is to stay vigilant. Some essential practices that we can adopt are installing smoke alarms in our homes, keeping our area free of waste paper and items that can quickly catch fire and turn off our electrical appliances when not in use. If a fire hazard is spotted near you, please call 1800-280-0000. Another way that you can report a fire hazard is by taking a picture and then report it with the SCDF Mobile App.