Help fight fires with SCDF app alert

PHOTO: ITUNES/SCDF

Individuals can now play a part in fighting small fires in their vicinity, such as rubbish chute or bin fires.

A new function in the Singapore Civil Defence Force's (SCDF's) myResponder mobile app will alert registered users to cases of minor fires within a 400m radius.

Such fires are usually small, with no risk of spreading, and can be swiftly put out, noted SCDF.

As such, the risk to responders is minimal and no training will be required for individuals to attend to such minor fire incidents.

Users can accept the fire alert notification, and go on to put out the fires via options such as using a domestic hose, a fire extinguisher or rubbish chute drencher systems. They can also call SCDF through the app or submit photos and videos of the fire.

The new function was officially launched yesterday by Mr K. Shanmugam, Law and Home Affairs Minister, at the SCDF's annual workplan seminar.

"Prompt intervention by residents prevents the fire from spreading and also saves valuable SCDF resources, which can be deployed to more urgent incidents," he said in his keynote address.

According to the SCDF, minor rubbish fires account for around half of residential fires, with the force responding to more than 1,000 such cases yearly.

Since the fire alert function's soft launch in January, close to 3,000 users have signed up for the alert. Notifications have been sent out for more than 300 fires.

The function is an extension to SCDF's myResponder app, which was unveiled at its workplan seminar in 2015 to allow registered users to render immediate medical aid to victims of cardiac arrest.

The app, which has been downloaded more than 80,000 times since its launch, has seen its share of successes.

SCDF reports that close to 1,700 users have responded to alerts of cardiac arrest and rendered necessary assistance since the app's inception.

The app also utilises a GPS geo-location feature, allowing the SCDF Operation Centre to locate incidents and deploy emergency resources swiftly when required.

The SCDF myResponder app is available on the Apple and Google Play app stores.

Mr Amos Hoe, 42, a manager, had earlier signed up for the fire alert notification. So when he received an alert earlier this month, he rushed to a burning rubbish bin one street away with a fire extinguisher in hand.

Calling the app "super useful", Mr Hoe said: "It basically broadens the available resources to include previously untapped personnel in the community.

"And for cardiac arrest victims and fires, time is of the essence."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 19, 2018, with the headline 'Help fight fires with SCDF app alert'. Print Edition | Subscribe