Wednesday, 4 February 2015

SCDF’s Emergency Preparedness Centre at Central Fire Station opens on 2 Feb 2015

New centre to train Singaporeans for emergencies
By Kimberly Spykerman, Channel NewsAsia, 2 Feb 2015

More Singaporeans can get trained to better respond to emergencies, with the opening of a new Emergency Preparedness Centre by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) on Monday (Feb 2).

Through interactive exhibits, the centre at the Central Fire Station will educate Singaporeans on what to do in a range of emergencies, including fire, medical and terrorism-related incidents.

Acting Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean said that while being prepared may not stop all incidents from happening, it allows for a quicker and more effective response to emergencies, which means consequences are better managed.

Security agencies in Singapore work round-the-clock to prevent terrorist attacks, but there is no guarantee that such attacks will not happen. As such, strong community resilience is necessary to counter any possible fallout from such attacks, said Mr Teo.

Mr Teo said those who carry out violent acts seek to divide the community and strike fear in innocent people.

"We should stand united and condemn the actions of these particular individuals who hold extreme views, and recognise that their violent acts and attempts to justify them do not reflect the beliefs, and are indeed rejected by the wider community,” said Mr Teo.

Mr Teo noted that it is important for Singaporeans to continue to cherish and focus on what they have in common, rather than accentuate their differences.

Making reference to the recent terror incidents in Sydney and Paris, Mr Teo said security agencies had resolved both incidents "decisively" because officers had prepared and trained well for them.

"The community also responded well, carrying on with life as normally as possible, refusing to let their lives be disrupted,” he added.

These incidents reflect the importance of emergency preparedness, he said, adding that there is a need to continually upgrade capabilities, enhance readiness through exercises and involve the community more.

Entry to the Emergency Preparedness Centre is free but the public will have to book through the SCDF website.


Separately, Mr Teo also announced that the timing for the Public Warning System Important Message Signal will be revised on Total Defence Day this year. Traditionally, the signal is activated at 12.05pm, but from this year, it will be activated at 6.20pm.

"6.20pm marks the time that the British surrendered to the Japanese in 1942. It will give added meaning when we mark Total Defence Day, and also serve as a solemn reminder to Singaporeans to take emergency preparedness seriously," he said.

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