Strong fire safety rules, enforcement in place

We refer to the recent letters on fire safety measures.

Singapore has a high standard of fire safety. The number of fire fatalities per 100,000 population is among the lowest in the world.

Singapore has in place robust regulations on fire safety.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) strictly enforces the Fire Code to ensure the safety of occupants in buildings.

The Fire Code mandates stringent fire safety standards for construction materials and cladding used in all buildings.

Flammable materials are not allowed to be used as cladding. Registered architects and engineers are required to submit building plans to the SCDF for approval.

The building works are then inspected and endorsed by a Registered Inspector before the building can be occupied.

Every residential apartment is designed as a fire compartment to prevent the spread of fires to adjacent units. The fire-rated entrance door, walls and floors of each unit act as effective fire barriers. This is a key design feature of our fire safety measures.

All buildings have exit staircases that are well-ventilated and protected against fire penetration.

HDB point blocks require only a single exit staircase for the evacuation of residents because there is not a large number of units on each floor.

The public should observe several important measures in the event of a home fire.

First, everyone should have a home fire extinguisher to put out small fires. Should the fire escalate and smoke start to fill the room, evacuate to safety in an orderly manner and call 995. Do not use the lift.

It is important to keep the common spaces and exit staircases free of obstruction to facilitate evacuation.

As residents would be familiar with the layout of their own homes and buildings, fire drills are not required for residential buildings, as opposed to large non-residential buildings such as shopping centres and offices.

The SCDF actively engages the public to raise awareness on fire safety. For example, the public can pick up life-saving skills, including how to use a fire extinguisher, at Emergency Preparedness Day events or by visiting the Emergency Preparedness Centre located at the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery.

More information on fire safety is available in the online Civil Defence Emergency Handbook (www.scdf.gov.sg), the "mySCDF" mobile application, or via the "I Am Safe" e-learning module.

Leslie Williams (Lieutenant-Colonel)

Senior Assistant Director, Public Affairs Department

Singapore Civil Defence Force

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 26, 2017, with the headline 'Strong fire safety rules, enforcement in place'. Print Edition | Subscribe