SCDF flags abuse against emergency medical personnel in statement on mid-year statistics

These cases involved the personnel being verbally or physically abused while attending to patients.
These cases involved the personnel being verbally or physically abused while attending to patients.PHOTO: BERITA HARIAN FILE

SINGAPORE- The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) flagged a rising number of cases of abuse against personnel from its Emergency Medical Services (EMS) in a statement on its mid-year statistics.

In the first six months of 2015, there were 10 reported abuse cases, compared to six cases in the same period in 2014. These cases involved the personnel being verbally or physically abused while attending to patients. In some cases, they were both verbally and physically abused.

On June 29 this year, a 57-year-old male was convicted in court and sentenced to 10 months in jail for hurling vulgarities at SCDF's EMS personnel and punching a medical orderly.

"Our EMS personnel save lives by providing critical emergency medical care. SCDF does not condone any forms of physical or verbal abuse against our officers and will lodge police reports if any of its personnel is abused," the SCDF said in its statement released on Tuesday ( Aug 25).

SCDF gave details on the fire calls it received in the first half of the year. It responded to 2,406 fire calls between January and June 2015, a 5 per cent drop from the 2,532 fires it responded to in the same period last year.

More than half of these fires happened in residential premises. As with other years, rubbish fires made up more than half of these residential fires. Rubbish fires in residential premises include fires in rubbish chutes and rubbish bins.

The SCDF noted that cases of rubbish fires tended to increase during the festive season. For example, of the 801 rubbish fires which broke out between January and June this year, 47 per cent of them occurred in January and February. This could be due to the indiscriminate disposal of lit materials such as sparklers, charcoal and incense, SCDF said.

The number of vehicle fires that broke out while the vehicles were travelling on the road fell by 20 per cent, from 114 to 91 cases, compared to the same period last year.

A majority of the fires were caused by ignition sources such as electrical faults and overheating in the engine compartment. While most vehicle fires started small, they could develop rapidly if flammables such as petrol, diesel and lubricants were present.