More SGSecure initiatives to be held in malls, private estates and community groups

Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam speaks to participants at an SGSecure community conference on Jan 26, 2019. PHOTO: JONATHAN CHOO

SINGAPORE - To raise awareness about terrorist threats, new SGSecure outreach initiatives will be held in suburban malls and condominiums this year.

Leaders from the grassroots, community, religious organisations, businesses and schools in five constituencies will take part in Community Response Round Tables to collaborate on emergency preparations, in a pilot project.

The myResponder mobile platform, which alerts Singaporeans to people nearby who need medical assistance or help to put out small fires, will also be integrated into the SGSecure app so that more people can access it to offer help.

The plans for the third year of SGsecure - the national terrorism awareness movement - were outlined by Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs Sun Xueling on Saturday (Jan 26).

"We must build on the strong foundations we have achieved together to make SGSecure. Together, we can create a generation of ready responders, a community of selfless life-savers and a nation of everyday heroes," she told about 600 participants at a community conference on SGSecure.

When a terrorist attack occurs, it only takes one alert Singaporean to notice a suspicious package and sound the alarm, or one prepared Singaporean to administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to save someone's life, Ms Sun said at the event at the Our Tampines Hub.

Efforts are being made to help people know the threats and basic responses, to be ready to act and mobilise friends, family and the community, and to have the heart to learn lifesaving skills.

For instance, a new series of SGsecure roadshows will be held in 16 suburban malls and other places with high human traffic over two years, starting from the middle of this year.

Safety and Security Days will also be held in condominiums, with the target of reaching 100 of them over the next two years.

Home Affairs and Law Minister K. Shanmugam also said at Saturday's event that good progress has been made in raising awareness about SGSecure over the past two years, and most Singaporeans believe they know what to do if caught in a terrorist attack.

A survey last year by the Ministry of Home Affairs found that more than half of the respondents believed they were well prepared to handle a terror attack, up from less than one in three in 2017. More than half also said they were trained in or familiar with at least one emergency preparedness skill such as operating a fire extinguisher, providing first aid or performing CPR.

Three in four Singaporeans are aware of SGSecure and more will be done to help people be ready to respond, said Mr Shanmugam.

"(This) means getting people to be committed, not just to be aware but to be committed to take action," he said. "

This focus is reflected in the movement's new tagline 'Our Response Matters. We make SGSecure', he added.

Giving an update on the SGSecure efforts last year, the MHA said a series of initiatives was rolled out to workplaces to raise their contingency planning capabilities. These include a guidebook, an enhanced certification framework for risk management, and drills involving multiple companies.

All schools have also conducted a lockdown drill to ensure that students and staff know how to respond to a terror attack, and SGSecure-themed storybooks were distributed to all Primary Three and Four pupils.

Also, all 89 Inter-Racial and Religious Confidence Circles have conducted table top exercises to discuss how to respond quickly and appropriately to racial and religious tensions after an attack.

Ms Sun highlighted Singaporeans who have stepped up to help others, such as Mr Koh Yi Hui, Mr Amos Hoe and Mr Hazmi Aris Hazam Aris, who responded to alerts for help on the myResponder app and provided medical assistance and helped to put out small fires.

Grassroots volunteer Adelina Akil is another example of someone who took the initiative to learn CPR and the use of an automated external defibrillator, and used her skills to help revive a lady who collapsed at Jurong Point Shopping Centre.

"They are everyday Singaporeans. They do not jump out of buildings or helicopters or wield machine-guns. But like the heroes you see on blockbuster action movies, they save lives," she said.

Join ST's Telegram channel here and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.