S'poreans 'must be prepared to deal with terror attacks'

Above: Mr Desmond Lee (in light blue), Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development, and members of the public visiting a decontamination chamber in the Bukit Panjang MRT shelter yesterday. Such chambers are
Above: Mr Desmond Lee (in light blue), Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development, and members of the public visiting a decontamination chamber in the Bukit Panjang MRT shelter yesterday. Such chambers are designed to check and treat infected people in the event of a chemical attack, before they enter the main shelter area. ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO
Above: Mr Desmond Lee (in light blue), Senior Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development, and members of the public visiting a decontamination chamber in the Bukit Panjang MRT shelter yesterday. Such chambers are
Above: Flexible ventilation ducts, installed on MRT trains during times of emergency, will provide air to train carriages as they are connected to the station's ventilation system.ST PHOTO: DESMOND FOO

Training with realistic scenarios will equip people with right skills: MP

Sembawang GRC MP Amrin Amin was in New York when the 9/11 terror attacks happened in 2001.

Mr Amrin, who was then an exchange student, said: "I remember seeing the raw emotions on the ground, people wanting answers quickly, and I also saw the uncertainties - the anthrax scare, planes unaccounted for, people running out of subways, train stations because of bomb threats."

Mr Amrin, who is also the Parliament Secretary for the Ministry of Home Affairs, shared his experience at a crisis response exercise held at Sembawang Community Club yesterday .

The exercise involved 100 grassroots leaders and community partners including schools, religious institutions and voluntary welfare organisations across five constituencies.

One emergency they had to deal with was a simulated terror attack scenario in Singapore. They had to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to mannequins serving as injured people.

Referring to recent attacks on Beirut and Paris, Mr Amrin Amin emphasised that people here should be prepared as Singapore could also be a target. He said training with realistic scenarios in our neighbourhoods will equip key grassroots leaders with essential emergency response capabilities to handle emergencies.

At the event yesterday, Mr Amrin referred to recent attacks on Beirut and Paris, and emphasised that people here should be prepared as Singapore could also be a target.

He said training with realistic scenarios in our neighbourhoods will equip key grassroots leaders with essential emergency response capabilities to handle emergencies.

Meanwhile, emergency preparedness got a bigger boost, with the addition of more MRT stations that can serve as civil defence shelters in the second phase of the Downtown Line, which opens on Dec 27.

Seven of these soon-to-open stations on the line will be designated as public shelters, bringing the total to 40 across all five MRT lines.

In order to increase awareness of these public shelters, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) held its third open house for the public to see the features of shelters at selected MRT stations.

About 10,000 people are expected to attend the open houses held at three stations of the Downtown Line - Bukit Panjang, Beauty World and Tan Kah Kee - over the weekend.

Yesterday, SCDF personnel and volunteers presented the features of the shelters that will be activated in times of national emergency to the public.

These include reinforced steel blast doors, decontamination chambers used in times of chemical attacks, and a dry toilet system.

These stations also have thick boundary walls, hardened floors and roof slabs, and are equipped with power, ventilation and water systems. They can hold up to 7,500 people in times of national emergency.

Madam Kwek Siew Fong, 41, was at the Bukit Panjang MRT open house yesterday with her husband and two children.

"I was interested in the exhibitions and to know about these shelters," said Madam Kwek, who works in the shipping industry. "It was also a good chance to let my two young boys find out about such features."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on December 13, 2015, with the headline 'S'poreans 'must be prepared to deal with terror attacks''. Print Edition | Subscribe