Number of fires up by 14.2 per cent to hit five-year high

The Singapore Civil Defence Force’s (SCDF) remote-controlled unmanned firefighting machine fighting a blaze at a waste chemical facility in Tuas on April 27, 2014. -- PHOTO: SCDF
The Singapore Civil Defence Force’s (SCDF) remote-controlled unmanned firefighting machine fighting a blaze at a waste chemical facility in Tuas on April 27, 2014. -- PHOTO: SCDF

SINGAPORE - The total number of fires here rose to 4,724 last year, to hit a five-year high. This is a 14.2 per cent increase over the 4,136 fires in 2013, and comes after a 20-year low in the number of fires in 2013.

The Singapore Civil Defence Force, releasing its annual statistics on Friday morning, attributed the increase to a spike in vegetation fires during the extended dry spell between January and March 2014.

The number of residential fires fell by 2.2 per cent, from 2,952 cases in 2013 to 2,888 last year. Just over half of all fires on residential premises involved fires in rubbish chutes and rubbish bins. The number of such fires grew by 17.5 per cent, from 1,289 cases in 2013 to 1,514 cases last year.

The number of calls for emergency medical services to the SCDF also grew by 3.7 per cent, from 150,155 calls in 2013 to 155,781 last year. This was attributed to a growing demand for ambulance services from an ageing population.

While only 11.2 per cent of the population is above 65 years old, 37.2 per cent of calls the SCDF got last year for emergency ambulances came from this group.

With a total fleet of 50 emergency ambulances, including those operated by private ambulance operators, the SCDF said it was able to respond to 83.1 per cent of such calls last year within 11 minutes.

amirh@sph.com.sg