New vessels and marine bases for SCDF to boost firefighting capabilities

SCDF's Rapid Response Fire Vessel.
SCDF's Rapid Response Fire Vessel.ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

SINGAPORE - Faster fire response vessels and new marine bases are on the cards as the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) looks to boost its firefighting capabilities, both on land and at sea.

The force will have new Rapid Response Fire Vessels (RFVs) that are the first purpose-built vessels designed by SCDF Marine Command. These will be based in each of the two Marine Fire Stations in West Coast and Brani, announced SCDF on Wednesday (May 3) at its workplan seminar.

The vessels will complement the force's marine firefighting and rescue operations, a role it took over from the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore in 2012. Two RFVs, named Red Swordfish and Blue Swordfish, were commissioned at the event by the guest of honour, Minister for Home Affairs K. Shanmugan.

Two new marine bases will also be ready in a few years' time. By mid-2017, the Loyang Marine Fire Station will be established to enhance emergency response capabilities in the eastern waters, while a new marine outpost will be built in Punggol.


SCDF's Rapid Response Fire Vessel. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Besides the RFVs, the SCDF will also be producing three larger vessels which are expected to be operational in two years' time.

 

To support the SCDF's Tiered-Response Framework, where SCDF resources and response speeds will be matched to the seriousness of each Emergency Medical Service call, the agency will be rolling out new Fire Medical Vehicles (FMVs) later this month.

The FMVs, which are a hybrid of a firefighting appliance and an ambulance, will be deployed for minor industrial incidents and road traffic accidents to stabilise and treat casualties before an ambulance arrives.


SCDF's Fire Medical Vehicle. ST PHOTO: MARK CHEONG

Among the new initiatives, the SCDF will enhance roles given to full-time (NSFs) and operationally-ready national servicemen (NSmen) by deploying them in more frontline and leadership positions. They will also be trained to respond to a wider range of incidents in the force's Special Rescue Unit that provides support for mass casualty incidents.

For regular uniformed officers, the SCDF will be joining other Home Team agencies like the Central Narcotics Bureau and Prisons in adopting a unified and shorter rank structure that will start in July this year. Besides the introduction of expert career tracks for specialist talents, the SCDF will also start a learning and development subsidy for officers to take professional development leave.