Incident shows need for readily available fire extinguishers

A major tragedy was averted on Tuesday evening because the fire in the Kallang-Paya Lebar Expressway tunnel was put out quickly by two members of the public before the arrival of Singapore Civil Defence Force fire engines (Fire in KPE tunnel leads to evacuation; Aug 30).

This shows that there must be readily available fire-fighting equipment throughout the tunnel, and people who know how to use them.

In a tunnel choked with cars, it would take a long time for the fire engines to arrive in any emergency.

Perhaps, the Land Transport Authority could install fire extinguishers at more frequent intervals in all tunnels, just like in malls, and train members of the public to use them.

We have a lot of national servicemen in our midst, as well as volunteer civil defence personnel.

It is also not difficult to teach motorists to use fire extinguishers.

Apart from the equipment, we must inculcate a sense of self-help and public spiritedness in the population.

I would like to see our people recognise the valour, initiative and public spiritedness of the two men who acted so quickly and so successfully.

A "Smart Nation" is not IT alone, but a nation of public-spirited people with initiative.

George Wong Seow Choon (Dr)

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 31, 2017, with the headline 'Incident shows need for readily available fire extinguishers'. Print Edition | Subscribe