An explosion followed in quick succession by shots fired by two "gunmen" rang out outside the West Coast Community Centre yesterday morning. Both "attackers" were swiftly taken down after a brief shoot-out with the police.
It was part of a simulated exercise aimed at educating residents on what to do in an emergency, such as sending text messages to the police and providing basic first aid.
Minister for Trade and Industry (Industry) S. Iswaran, an MP for West Coast GRC, said it was important for members of the community to be able to do their part should a crisis occur.
Mr Iswaran, who watched the exercise, said the threat of terrorism is real, pointing to incidents such as the recent vehicle-ramming attacks in France and Britain, as well as December's subway bombing in New York City.
He called on residents to support SGSecure, which is aimed at preparing citizens to respond in the event of a terrorist attack.
"The more volunteers and the more people who know what to do, the better prepared we'll be and the more lives we can save," he said.
He noted that 60 shopkeepers in the West Coast area have been trained in firefighting and life-saving skills under the Merchants on Cert (Community Emergency Response Team) Patrol programme since 2015.
Mr Tan Tuang Siang, who chairs the West Coast Community Emergency and Engagement Committee, said the committee will continue to conduct more first aid and life-saving classes.
Shopkeeper Bernard Thia said the skills he learnt came into use recently when he helped a man who had collapsed while eating at a hawker centre. He was able to clear the man's throatand call for an ambulance. "Many people rushed down when they saw what happened, but they didn't know what to do," said the 70-year-old, who is the chairman of the West Coast Drive Merchants' Association.