Yishun residents learn how to respond to terror attack

Counter-terrorism exercise on Nee Soon South's Emergency Preparedness Day.ST VIDEO: KOK XING HUI
Members of a Community Emergency Response Team helping a "victim" and providing information to the police during a mock terror attack on a coffee shop in Yishun yesterday. Residents also learnt how to help someone having a heart attack and register f
Members of a Community Emergency Response Team helping a "victim" and providing information to the police during a mock terror attack on a coffee shop in Yishun yesterday. Residents also learnt how to help someone having a heart attack and register for first aid training. ST PHOTO: KEVIN LIMST PHOTO: KEVIN LIM

They witness mock strike on coffee shop as part of emergency preparedness exercise

Helping a person with a gunshot wound, attending to another with a heart attack, and alerting the authorities to an act of terrorism at a coffee shop: These were some scenarios that played out in Yishun for an emergency preparedness exercise yesterday morning.

About 600 residents attended the event, witnessing the "terror attack" at a busy coffee shop and how the police and civil defence reacted to it.

Nee Soon GRC MP Lee Bee Wah said: "Maybe you're thinking it won't really happen here. But last year, there was a plot to bomb Singapore from Batam."

Singapore's security so far is the exception and not the rule, she added.

Alongside the exercise, residents were treated to a skit reinforcing messages behind SGSecure, such as "run, hide and tell".

Last September, the SGSecure national movement was launched to sensitise, train and mobilise Singaporeans in preventing terrorism and dealing with its aftermath.

Booths were also set up for yesterday's event in Nee Soon South, in which residents could learn from the Singapore Civil Defence Force how to help someone having a heart attack, register for first aid training and know more about SGSecure.

Ms Lee noted that Yishun MRT station had been a terrorist target in the past. In 2002, the Government released video footage showing that members of the Jemaah Islamiah network had planned to bomb targets near the station.

Another similar exercise was held at a coffee shop in Bukit Merah yesterday morning, where grassroots adviser Joan Pereira said such exercises were timely, given recent global events.

Said the Tanjong Pagar GRC MP: "Terrorist attacks can happen anywhere... Our community must respond and come together to return society to normalcy once such an incident occurs."

A bomb exploded in the foyer outside the venue of a pop concert in Manchester, England, last Monday, killing 22 people.

Closer to home, two suicide bombers blew themselves up at a bus terminal in Jakarta last Wednesday, killing three policemen.

Last Thursday, the Ministry of Home Affairs said it was stepping up checks and patrols at key locations here following the Manchester and Jakarta attacks.

Members of the public who notice any suspicious item or person should promptly call the police on 999 or the Internal Security Department's Counter-Terrorism Centre on 1800-262-6473. The public can also make a report through the SGSecure mobile application.


Global emergency numbers at fingertips

If there is an emergency in Singapore, residents dial 999. But in the United States, emergency services are reached via 911 instead. And in Australia, 000.

Few might be able to rattle off foreign emergency numbers despite Singaporeans being frequent travellers.

The 1st Response app helps people quickly contact emergency services wherever they are in the world.
The 1st Response app helps people quickly contact emergency services wherever they are in the world. PHOTO: 1ST RESPONSE

To help people quickly contact emergency services wherever they are in the world, three Singaporeans have launched an app called 1st Response.

Mr Abel Lim, 46, who works in the finance industry, said he hit on the idea for 1st Response in June last year and, by January, launched the app with two co-founders.

Open the app in any country and it will be able to detect where the person is and which are the emergency numbers to dial, although an Internet connection is needed. "If there's an emergency, all you do is press the buttons and it'll automatically connect you to the police," said Mr Lim.

There is also a function to notify your next of kin, who will get a message with your whereabouts and local contacts such as the Singapore Embassy in that country.

The app is available for use on Apple and Android phones for free. So far, there have been 230 downloads across both platforms. Mr Lim intends to charge US$2.99 (S$4.10) for the app at a later date.

Kok Xing Hui

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 29, 2017, with the headline 'Yishun residents learn how to respond to terror attack'. Print Edition | Subscribe