Volunteer arm of SCDF marks 10th anniversary

From left: Mr Leow Jun Cong, Dr Zan Ng, Mr Yunnos Shariff, Mr Tan Teow Chye and Ms Lee Bee Lian are among the more than 250 people volunteering with the Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit as it celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. The CDAU had only 2
From left: Mr Leow Jun Cong, Dr Zan Ng, Mr Yunnos Shariff, Mr Tan Teow Chye and Ms Lee Bee Lian are among the more than 250 people volunteering with the Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit as it celebrates its 10th anniversary this year. The CDAU had only 26 volunteers when it was formed in 2006.ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

Having spent almost his entire life as a firefighter, it was only natural that Mr Yunnos Shariff joined the Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit (CDAU) after retirement.

The volunteer arm of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) was formed in 2006 to provide an opportunity for volunteers to contribute to the nation's civil defence efforts. It had only 26 volunteers then. It celebrates its 10th anniversary this year with more than 250, with 73-year-old Mr Yunnos as its oldest member.

Mr Yunnos, whose father was a firefighter, grew up in a fire station and eventually followed in his dad's footsteps. After his retirement, he went on to join the CDAU in 2010 as a tour guide at the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery.

"I joined so I could tell my stories and share my knowledge with the younger generation," said Mr Yunnos, who acts as a mentor to the younger volunteers.

Volunteering alongside Mr Yunnos in a different vocation is Mr Leow Jun Cong, 21, a third-year student from Singapore Polytechnic currently pursuing a diploma in aerospace electronics.

He signed up for the CDAU volunteer firefighting course in March last year, and fought a raging warehouse fire in Tuas alongside full- time firefighters within a month after graduation.

"The scariest part was not being able to see what's in front of you - not even your hands," said Mr Leow, who hopes to become a full- time firefighter after completing his national service.

"At that time I had gone through only three duties, but the regulars were there to guide me."

He has dreamt of joining the SCDF ever since he joined the National Civil Defence Cadet Corps in secondary school.

"When someone is in need of help, we are there to help them. To be able to save someone's life is the satisfaction I get from volunteering," he said.

The CDAU held its 10th anniversary celebration at the SCDF headquarters in Ubi last Friday. Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Amrin Amin, the guest of honour, gave out awards to 13 officers.

Mr Yunnos received the pinnacle "CDAU outstanding officer award" for his service.

Commandant of the CDAU, Colonel Abdul Razak Raheem, said: "I'm confident of more people with the passion in the calling of CDAU to come forward to join the SCDF in our lifesaving mission."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 15, 2016, with the headline 'Volunteer arm of SCDF marks 10th anniversary'. Print Edition | Subscribe