SCDF's resource deployment seems over the top

When a woman's arm was trapped in a mixer at a pastry shop, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) dispatched two fire bikes, two fire engines, an ambulance and a support vehicle (Woman's arm trapped in mixer at Ang Mo Kio pastry shop; ST Online, Sept 21).

When a man was trapped on a crane, the SCDF sent a fire engine, a Red Rhino, an ambulance and three support vehicles (Worker trapped on crane in Keppel terminal dies; Sept 22).

Why were so many resources needed to deal with these incidents? They were not fire incidents, so why were fire engines and fire bikes sent? It seems like an ambulance and one support vehicle would have been enough.

This is an over-deployment and a waste of valuable resources.

Surely the SCDF has a standard procedure on sizing up an incident before deciding what to deploy.

The person who answers the 995 call should be experienced and trained to assess each situation and decide on the type of assistance required.

The first responder on the scene should be experienced as well and able to quickly size up the situation and ask for more resources if necessary, rather than sending more than needed initially.

Knowing what to look for and how to act on the information are the root of every deployment of manpower and equipment.

Responders should ask themselves what is there, what does the situation need and what is available to be deployed. Knowing these will help to save valuable and precious resources.

Francis Cheng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 28, 2017, with the headline 'SCDF's resource deployment seems over the top'. Print Edition | Subscribe