SINGAPORE - The total number of fire calls rose by 19.2 per cent between January and June this year, largely due to an increase in vegetation fires during the dry season, reported the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) on Wednesday.
SCDF responded to a total of 2,532 fires during these six months, up from 2,125 in the same period last year.
There were 529 cases of vegetation fires, the highest number for six months of the year since 2005 where there were 697 cases.
While there was an overall increase in fires, fires in residential premises fell by three per cent.
The SCDF noted a big drop of 55.5 per cent in fires related to discarded items compared to last year, down to 142 cases from 319.
Rubbish fires make up the bulk of residential fires at 54.9 per cent, with a higher number of incidents happening during the festive season.
Fires in commercial premises fell 7.3 per cent by 11 cases. But such fires in eating establishments - such as restaurants, coffee shops, or hawker centres - remain an area of concern, which accounted for 24.3 per cent, or 34 cases, of total fires in commercial premises.
Also on the rise were electrical fires which saw an increase of 16.8 per cent compared to the same period last year. Vehicle fires also increased by 20 per cent.
Industrial fires increased by 16.9 per cent, with 17 cases involving warehouses.
Injuries from fires have decreased, with a 44.7 per cent drop in smoke inhalation cases and 18.6 per cent dip in burn injuries. Two fire fatalities were reported due to the fire that broke out at the Marina Bay Suites condominium in January.
The SCDF also announced a new emergency SMS service for people with hearing or speech disabilities. They can now send a SMS to SCDF at 70995 instead of calling 995.
The service is exclusive to those who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, and/or have a speech impediment. In order to access it, one must be registered with any of the three organisations: The Singapore Association for the Deaf, TOUCH Community Services or SG Enable.