On July 11, there was a fire on the ninth floor of Block 11 Joo Seng Road. After speaking with Housing Board staff present, I was shocked to learn that there were no fire alarms in the block. In fact, most HDB blocks do not have fire alarms, except some of the newer Build-To-Order blocks, I was told.
In order to notify residents of the block, the Singapore Civil Defence Force goes from door to door to inform them. If there is a fire raging, I cannot imagine SCDF being able to do this. For residents living above the fire, being able to react quickly will make the difference between lives saved or lost.
A fire alarm or a PA system is essential to quickly warn all residents living in a block.
The Government spends a lot of money on beautifying and upgrading HDB flats, but something essential and related to safety, like a fire alarm, should be on the top of the list.
Chua Teng Phuan