SCDF dealt with fewer fires in first half of year

Cases of fire, including those in homes, fell in the first six months this year compared to the same period last year, due partly to more prevention and enforcement efforts.

Data from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) shows it responded to 2,406 calls regarding fires from January to June, down 5 per cent. The most common cause was "dropped light cases" - which refers to the indiscriminate disposal of lighted materials such as cigarette butts or charcoal embers.

About six in 10 of the cases involved residences. Fires at homes dipped by 1.7 per cent, with most involving rubbish chutes or bins, with a flare-up of such cases during the festive season.

"This could be due to the indiscriminate disposal of lighted materials such as sparklers, charcoal and incense materials," said the SCDF, adding that it would continue to work closely with community partners to improve outreach efforts.

Besides giving out flyers, SCDF also made fire-safety visits to clusters of public blocks with a high occurrence of such rubbish chute fires.

Unattended cooking and discarded items also led to domestic fires .

One in 10 of all fires involved non-residential premises such as commercial or industrial buildings. Incidents on commercial premises, most of which involved eating outlets, shopping complexes and shophouses, fell by about a quarter.

The rest of the fires occurred outside of buildings, which include incidents listed as vegetation and vehicles fires. These fell by a tenth.

There were 91 cases of vehicles catching fire while on the road in the first half of the year, compared to 114 in the same period in 2014.

The SCDF said it had been working with petroleum companies to distribute brochures with safety tips to motorists, and will continue to do more to educate the public about having their cars maintained and checked regularly.

In all, there were four deaths and 29 injuries from incidents of fire between January and June, as well as 31 cases of smoke inhalation. Two workers died in an unauthorised dormitory in Geylang in April, and two people died in a fire at a Parry Avenue house in June.

The SCDF has stepped up enforcement, conducting more than 8,000 fire safety checks between January and June, up from 6,985 previously. But it added that the public, too, has an important role to play in reporting fire safety violations.

Lim Yi Han

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 26, 2015, with the headline 'SCDF dealt with fewer fires in first half of year'. Print Edition | Subscribe