SCDF unveils new equipment to enable firefighters to climb higher, fight oil tank fires more efficiently

The Combined Platform Ladder 34m (left) compared to the latest iteration, the Combined Platform Ladder 60m, unveiled by the SCDF at its annual workplan seminar on May 8, 2019.
The Combined Platform Ladder 34m (left) compared to the latest iteration, the Combined Platform Ladder 60m, unveiled by the SCDF at its annual workplan seminar on May 8, 2019.ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN
The Modular Oil Tank Firefighting System, which can help the SCDF in fighting a blaze similar to the massive Pulau Busing fire in 2018.
The Modular Oil Tank Firefighting System, which can help the SCDF in fighting a blaze similar to the massive Pulau Busing fire in 2018.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

SINGAPORE - A ladder that can be extended up to 60m, or the height of a 20-storey building, is among the new array of equipment for the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) to improve its aerial operational capabilities and also respond better to oil tank fires.

The Combined Platform Ladder 60m (CPL60) was among the innovations unveiled by the SCDF at its annual workplan seminar, held at Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) on Thursday (May 9).

Other equipment included a Modular Oil Tank Firefighting System (MOTFS), which can help the SCDF in fighting a blaze similar to the massive Pulau Busing fire last year, and rescue jet skis that can be used in shallow water operations.

The CPL60, the latest addition to SCDF's aerial operational capabilities, has been ready for use for about two months but has not yet been deployed in real-life operations.

It is equipped with a water monitor capable of discharging 3,800 litres of water per minute, and a rescue cage that can hold up to 500kg.

It also has a camera to capture a bird's eye view of the situation, and the live images can be relayed back to the ground through a mobile app, giving commanders a better understanding of a fire before sending in the firefighters.

Currently, the SCDF's aerial firefighting and rescue capabilities include a Combined Platform Ladder 34m and Aerial Ladder 56m (AL56). The latter is designed primarily for aerial rescue operations.

The SCDF also revealed that there are plans for a High Level Articulated Appliance that can extend up to 90m.

Another piece of machinery on show at the workplan seminar was the MOTFS.

The SCDF's director of operations, Assistant Commissioner Daniel Seet, said the current Large Monitors, commonly known as "big guns", have been used by the SCDF to fight fires for a decade.

They were deployed in two major operations: in Jurong Island in 2016 and in Pulau Busing last year.

The new MOTFS will be put in operation early next year. The two new big guns will bring "strategic operational advantages", according to AC Seet.

They will be able to discharge up to 100,000 litres of foam solution per minute, as compared to the current four Large Monitors' combined output of 60,000 litres per minute.

AC Seet said: "In any oil tank firefighting operation, the laying of equipment on-site is always the most resource intensive."

The new system will reduce time and resources in setting up, as there are only two guns instead of four. This is also helpful in an oil refinery, which has space constraints.

 

The MOTFS will have powerful submersible pumps that can draw water directly from an open water source, such as the sea, to supply a pump up to 50m away.

Currently, pumps cannot be supplied if they are more than 3m away from the water surface.

An automated hose retrieval feature also helps firefighters retrieve the hoses that are 12 inches in diameter after an operation, especially when fatigue sets in for the fightfighters.

AC Seet said the equipment is on its way to Singapore from the Netherlands, and that personnel will have to be trained before the two new big guns can be put into operation by early next year.

Other equipment on show at the workplan seminar on Thursday included the SCDF Marine Division's rescue jet ski.

The jet ski, which has a maximum speed of 90kmh, is designed for conducting rescue operations in shallow waters, as it can access casualties quickly without the fear of the ski grounding.

Each of the two jet skis that will be deployed by the Marine Division will have a towing sled attached to the back to aid in the rescue of casualties in the water.

They are expected to be commissioned in August, and used in operations from February next year.

On the side of the workplan seminar, the SCDF also signed a Memorandum of Intent with non-governmental organisation Mercy Relief (MR) and the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) to provide humanitarian volunteering opportunities for Civil Defence (CD) Lionhearters.

CD Lionhearters comprise young people interested in emergency preparedness work and humanitarian aid missions.

Mr Amrin Amin, Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and Health, who witnessed the signing, said: "By tapping MR's and SRC's expertise and networks, CD Lionhearters will be able to gain more exposure and acquire new experiences that harness both their hard skills and soft skills."