Anti-terror exercise held at hospital for first time

Police Emergency Response Team officers carrying out an anti-terrorism exercise in the food and beverage area of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital yesterday evening as DPM Tharman looks on.
Police Emergency Response Team officers carrying out an anti-terrorism exercise in the food and beverage area of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital yesterday evening as DPM Tharman looks on.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Three masked men, armed with guns, attacked a medical conference at the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital Tower A yesterday evening.

They were eventually taken down by members of the Singapore Police Force's (SPF) Emergency Response Teams and Neighbourhood Police Centre Ground Response Forces. Emergency responders from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) then moved in to perform rescue operations and tend to the wounded.

The SCDF personnel worked with the Medical Emergency Response Team from the hospital, made up of doctors and nurses, who provided medical treatment.

Real as it seemed, the event was part of the third and final instalment of this year's Exercise Heartbeat. It was the first time the simulated terror attack, now into its eighth year, was held in a hospital.

It involved 185 people from the SPF and SCDF, staff and tenants of the hospital, Jurong Gateway Safety and Security Watch Group members and residents from Yuhua and Bukit Batok East constituencies.

Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies Tharman Shanmugaratnam, the guest of honour, observed the exercise. Exercise participants underwent SGSecure training on survival skills and knowledge prior to the event.

A localised alert message was also sent out to people in the vicinity before the exercise started, through the recently announced SMS-based Public Alert System.

Jurong GRC MP Rahayu Mahzam said such exercises are useful for institutions to learn how to conduct themselves when such events happen. "The hospital, like any other public space, is vulnerable to attacks. We've seen this happen in other countries," she said.

"So these are real things that could happen, and especially now with the rise of threat of terrorism, I think it's important for every institution, especially hospitals, to be prepared."

WATCH ONLINE
Video clip of the exercise: http://str.sg/4fj8

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 24, 2016, with the headline 'Anti-terror exercise held at hospital for first time'. Print Edition | Subscribe