SINGAPORE - Crews from two private ambulance operators trained for a wider range of emergencies will respond to calls in Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) ambulances and uniforms under a new contracting model.
This new arrangement between SCDF and private ambulance operators Unistrong Technology and Lentor Ambulance begins on Tuesday (Dec 1) as part of SCDF's efforts to enhance its operational capabilities and readiness.
Paramedics from these private ambulance operators (PAOs) will be able to respond to complex medical emergencies, including mass casualty incidents and those involving chemical, biological, radiological and explosive elements.
They will also don the SCDF uniform while doing so, SCDF added in a statement on Monday.
Assistant Commissioner Yong Meng Wah, director of SCDF's Emergency Medical Services department, said the new arrangement comes as SCDF faces an "increasingly complex operating environment and greater demand for emergency medical services".
Under the new government-owned-contractor-operated model, the two PAOs will provide the personnel to operate 30 SCDF-issued ambulances assigned to them in fire stations across Singapore.
SCDF began using PAO ambulances in 2009 to augment its fleet. Under the previous arrangement, the PAOs owned and maintained their own fleet of ambulances.
With the new arrangement, SCDF will also issue additional ambulances to the two PAOs which can be activated during major prolonged emergencies.
SCDF added that it will maintain overall command and control over all medical resources which may include PAO ambulances and crew deployed to large-scale incidents.
All new PAO recruits from next year will be required to attend an upskilling programme to equip them with the skills to respond to complex medical emergencies.
PAO personnel must also undergo half-yearly recertification tests administered by SCDF.
Lieutenant-Colonel Janice Oh, SCDF's senior assistant director of the EMS Readiness Branch, said that the assessment comprises theory tests and practical exercises which equip PAOs to serve the public better.