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Wednesday, 11 August 2010
SCDF Mid Year Statistics for Jan to Jun 2010

TOPIC 1

FIRE INCIDENT STATISTICS (JAN - JUN 2010)

DROP IN NUMBER OF FIRES ACROSS ALL TYPES OF PREMISES

SCDF responded to 2,395 fires between Jan and Jun 2010, a decrease of 14% from the 2,799 fires for Jan-Jun 2009.  This is much lower than the average number of fires between Jan and Jun in the last 10 years.  The average number of fires for the first six months from 2000 to 2009 is 2,500 cases.  It is encouraging to note that the drop is present across all types of premises - residential, commercial, industrial and non-building fires such as vegetation fires. 

 

RUBBISH FIRES AND UNATTENDED COOKING FIRES ON A 5-YEAR LOW

Fires in residential premises declined by 7% from 1,749 to 1,625 in the first six months of the year.  The drop could be attributed to greater public awareness on fire safety measures and the joint public education efforts by SCDF, NFEC and the Town Councils to put up banners at housing estates highlighting common household fires and the conduct of community engagement programmes in the heartlands by the grassroots. 

 

As shown in Table 1, there was a significant drop of 20% (171 cases) in rubbish fires.  In fact, both rubbish fires and unattended cooking fires fell to a 5-year low as shown in Table 1 below. 

 

 

Description

Jan-Jun 2006

Jan-Jun 2007

Jan- Jun 2008

Jan-Jun 2009

Jan-Jun 2010

Rubbish Fires (Rubbish chutes & rubbish bins)

789

784

881

874

703

Unattended Cooking      

276

280

271

274

246

Table 1:  Rubbish and Unattended Cooking Fires in Residential Premises (2006 - 2010)

Although rubbish fires have come down, it continues to form the main bulk of residential fires, constituting 43% (703 cases) of the total number of residential fires. Rubbish fires in residential premises include fires in rubbish chutes or bins.  Such fires are usually caused by the poor social habits of some residents who indiscriminately dispose lighted materials such as embers from charcoal, cigarette butts and lighted incense materials into rubbish chutes or bins.  The public is urged to continue to practice fire safety awareness when disposing of lighted materials so as to reduce the occurrence of such fires.

 

The drop in the number of unattended cooking fires shows that home makers and domestic helpers are increasingly more cautious when preparing meals.  They are now more aware of the dangers of leaving cooking unattended and that leaving the cooking unattended even for a short while could result in fire outbreaks that cause significant damages to the house or even compromise the safety of the occupants.

 

 

SIGNIFICANT DECLINE IN GAS FIRES ATTRIBUTED TO LPG SAFETY CHECKS PROGRAMME

The concerted efforts by SCDF, NFEC, LPG suppliers and dealers to educate consumers on LPG safety are reflected in the significant decline in the number of gas fires.  There were only 3 such fires from Jan to Jun 2010.  With the introduction of the LPG Safety Checks Programme in 2008, LPG dealers conduct safety checks on household LPG cylinders when making home deliveries.  This includes checks on the regulator, rubber hose, hose clips, joints/connections and tests for leaks. 

 

Description

Jan – Jun 2009

Jan – Jun 2010

Absolute Change

%       Change

Gas Fires

19

3

-16

-84.2%

Table 2:  Gas Fires in Residential Premises

INCREASE IN FIRES INVOLVING DISCARDED ITEMS

One area of concern is the number of fires involving discarded items placed at common spaces in public housing estates such as corridors, lift lobbies, staircases and void decks.  As shown in Table 3, the number of fires for this category increased from 240 to 380.  Fires involving discarded items have the potential to be more serious in nature due to the high fire load present.  Besides such fires can hinder the smooth evacuation of occupants. 

 

 Description

Jan - Jun 2009

Jan – Jun 2010

Absolute Change

%       Change

Discarded Items Fires 

240

380

+140

58.3%

Table 3:  Discarded Items Fires in Residential Premises

Fires involving discarded items can be easily prevented if residents make it a point not to leave unwanted household items outside their homes or at common areas such as corridors and lift lobbies.  These items, especially combustible items such as bulky furniture and newspapers, can easily start fires when lighted materials such as incense sticks and cigarette butts are indiscriminately thrown onto them.  Residents should make arrangements with the Town Councils to remove any bulky items.

 

LESS VEGETATION FIRES

As shown in Table 4, there was a significant decrease in vegetation fires by 138 cases in the first six months of the year.  SCDF which chairs the Wildfire Task Force Committee[1] has been working closely with the related agencies to adopt preventive measures at the respective lands under their jurisdiction.  Other measures include increasing the frequencies in trimming the vegetation; keeping the land moist as well as to create sufficient fire break buffers and barriers to prevent fire spread.  SCDF crews also patrolled fire hot spot areas during the dry spell between Jan - Mar 2010.

 

Description

Jan-Jun 2009

Jan-Jun 2010

Absolute Change

%       Change

Vegetation

398

260

-138

-34.7%

Table 4:  Vegetation Fires

INDISCRIMINATE DISPOSAL OF LIGHTED MATERIALS MAIN CAUSE OF FIRES

"Dropped Light" remains the highest contributing cause of fires at 62%.   However, the figures decreased from 1851cases for Jan - Jun 2009 to 1493 cases for Jan - Jun 2010.  "Dropped Light" includes un-extinguished cigarette butts, embers from charcoal, lit incense sticks and lighted matchsticks, etc.

 

 

NO FIRE FATALITIES IN THE LAST THREE YEARS

Similar to last year, there were no fatalities due to fires.  39 persons sustained injuries from fires in the first six months of this year.  This is 17 cases lower than the figures for last year. See Table 5.

 

Description

Jan-Jun 2009

Jan-Jun 2010

Absolute Change

% Change

Number of fire injuries

56

39

-17

-30.4%

Fatalities

0

0

0

0

Table 5: Number of Fire Casualties

LUNAR SEVENTH MONTH  FIRE SAFETY ADVISORY

In view of the Lunar Seventh Month from 10 Aug 2010, the SCDF would like to remind members of the public to exercise greater caution when conducting religious activities such as the burning of incense papers and joss sticks, which are expected to increase.  Here are a few simple fire safety tips to help minimize potential hazards during this period:

 

  a.       When making religious offerings in public areas, always use the           incense burners or metal containers provided by the Town Council. The burners or containers should be placed on sturdy ground and at a distance from other residential premises.

 

b.      For private home owners, incense paper burners should always be used.

 

c.       After the prayer session, always check the area for smoldering incense or embers and ensure that it is completely extinguished before leaving.

 

d.      Avoid throwing lighted materials such as candles and matches onto grass patches and fields as these items may inadvertently start a fire.

 

 

TOPIC 2

EMERGENCY AMBULANCE SERVICE STATISTICS (JAN - JUN 2010)

EMERGENCY AMBULANCE SERVICE (EAS) CALLS REMAIN HIGH

For the first 6 months of 2010, SCDF Emergency Ambulance Service (EAS) responded to a total of 61,828 ambulance calls.  This is an increase of 6% over the 58,247 calls for the same period last year.  Emergency calls made up 96% of the total calls responded.  The remaining 1.7 % were non-emergency situations and another 2.3% were false alarms.  Both the non-emergency calls and false alarms saw a drop from last year.

 

 

Description

Jan - Jun 2009

Jan - Jun 2010

Absolute Change

% Change

Emergency Calls

 

55,600

 

59,295

 

3,695

6.6%

Non-Emergency Calls

1,052

 

1,079

 

27

2.6%

False Alarms

 

1,595

 

1,454

 

-141

-8.8%

Total

58,247

61,828

3,581

6.1%

Table 1: Number and Type of Ambulance Calls

RISE IN EMERGENCY CALLS

Emergency calls rose by 7% from 55,600 cases to 59,295 calls. The breakdown for emergency calls is shown in Table 2.  Medical cases (e.g. cases involving chest pain, breathlessness, unconsciousness and cardiac arrest) constituted 72% (42,611 cases) of the total emergency calls. 

 

Description

Jan - Jun 2009

Jan - Jun 2010

Absolute Change

% Change

Trauma - Road Traffic Accidents

5,657

5,842

185

3.3%

Other Trauma

10,447

10,842

395

3.8%

Medical (Emergency)

39,496

42,611

3,115

7.9%

Total

55,600

59,295

3,695

6.6%

Table 2: Breakdown on Emergency Ambulance Calls

PERCENTAGE OF NON-EMERGENCY AMBULANCE CALLS HIT ALL-TIME LOW

The number of non-emergency calls for Jan to Jun 2010 constituted only 1.7% of the total ambulance calls that SCDF responded to.  This figure which is an all-time low, can be attributed to greater public awareness. The public is urged to continue to call 1777 for non-emergency cases, where the service of non-emergency ambulance operators can be engaged.  This will allow more emergency resources to be channelled towards life threatening cases. 

 

Non-Emergency Calls

Jan-Jun 2001

Jan-Jun

2002

Jan-Jun

2003

Jan-Jun

2004

Jan-Jun

2005

Jan-Dec 2006

Jan-Jun

2007

Jan-Jun

2008

Jan - Jun 2009

Jan- Jun 2010

Number of Calls

3,968

4,289

2,847

3,139

3,074

2,602

2,531

1,353

1,052

 

1,079

 

% of Calls

11.2%

11.2%

7.3%

7.5%

7.1%

5.6%

4.7%

2.2%

1.8%

 

1.7%

 

Table 3: Number of Non-Emergency Ambulance Calls (2001 to 2010)

TOPIC 3

OBSTRUCTION TO EMERGENCY VEHICLES (JAN - JUN 2010)

INCREASE IN NUMBER OF OBSTRUCTION TO SCDF EMERGENCY VEHICLES

From Jan to Jun 2010, 24 persons were summoned by the Traffic Police for obstructing SCDF emergency vehicles.  This is an increase of 10 cases from Jan to Jun 2009.  As every second counts during emergencies, it is important that SCDF resources arrive at the incident site swiftly.  When motorists on the road do not give way to emergency vehicles, our response time can be compromised.

 

Description

Jan-Jun 2009

Jan-Jun 2010

Number of persons summoned for obstruction to ambulances

12

23

Number of persons summoned for obstruction to fire engines

2

1

Total

14

24

Table 1: Number of Traffic Obstruction to SCDF Emergency Vehicles

SCDF’s DRIVE WITH A HEART CAMPAIGN (15 AUG - 15 NOV 2010)

Generally, our SCDF responders do not face much problems from motorists not giving way to our emergency vehicles.  While the number of obstruction cases is not critically high, there is room for further improvement.  SCDF would like to urge motorists to give way to SCDF emergency vehicles.  Motorists travelling in front of an emergency vehicle should switch lanes upon hearing the emergency siren and/or seeing the flashing red lights.  Those in adjacent lanes should slow down to let other vehicles move out of the way. 

 

Since 2006, SCDF has been organising the “Drive with a Heart” campaign regularly to help inculcate the sense of responsibility in motorists, to give way when encountering emergency vehicles.  The next “Drive with a Heart” campaign will be held from 15 August 2010 to 15 November 2010.

 

To generate greater publicity, vehicle decals bearing the tagline “Drive with a Heart, Give Way to Emergency Vehicles” will be distributed to the public throughout the campaign period during our Emergency Preparedness (EP) Days and Fire Station Open House.  At the end of the campaign, 40 motorists who are spotted to have given way to emergency vehicles will be presented with a SCDF testimonial and tokens of appreciation in the form of a $40 voucher.

 

Failure to give way to emergency vehicles is an offence and offenders may be fined or jailed. SCDF ambulances and fire engines are equipped with video cameras since year 2002. Video footages of obstruction are then submitted to the Traffic Police for investigation.

 

 

TOPIC 4

FIRE SAFETY ENFORCEMENT STATISTICS (JAN – JUN 2010)

DECLINE IN NUMBER OF FIRE HAZARD ABATEMENT NOTICE (FHAN)

Arising from the 5941 enforcement checks conducted by SCDF in the first six months of this year, 1482 Fire Hazard Abatement Notices (FHAN) were issued.  This is a decline from the 1727 FHANs issued between Jan to Jun 2009.  Under the Fire Safety Act, a FHAN serves as a warning to building owners and management to remove the fire hazard.  The lower number of FHANs issued could be attributed to the efforts of building owners and fire safety managers in identifying and removing potential fire hazards, thus resulting in lesser number of violations detected.

 

The most common fire hazards contributing to the FHANs were the obstruction to exits (342 FHANs) and the poor maintenance of fire fighting equipment (302 FHANs).  However, as shown in Table 1, the number of FHANs issued for both these hazards registered a drop from last year.  During fire outbreaks, poorly maintained fire extinguishers and hosereels can affect the early mitigation of fires by occupants, while obstructed exits can impede evacuation. 

 

Description of fire hazard

Jan – Jun 2009

Jan – Jun 2010

Absolute change

% change

Obstructed exits

374

342

-32

-8.6%

Non-maintenance of fire-fighting equipment (Hosereel/Fire Extinguisher)

396

302

 

-94

 

 

-23.7%

            Table 1: Fire Hazard Abatement Notice (By Type of Hazard)

UNAUTHORISED CHANGE OF USE MAIN CONTRIBUTING FACTOR FOR NOTICE OF FIRE SAFETY OFFENCE (NFSO)

A Notice of Fire Safety Offence (NFSO) is issued when there is direct contravention of the Fire Safety Act, for example, unauthorised fire safety works carried out.  It carries with it a composition fine of between $300 and $500.  Stepped-up enforcement checks contributed towards the rise in the issuance of NFSOs in 2010.  1080 NFSOs were issued for the first six months of this year, an increase of 293 cases from the 787 NFSOs issued for the same period last year.

 

The main contributing offence for the increase in NFSO was the unauthorised change of use, which rose by 73.  The common types of unauthorised change of use detected during our inspections include the conversion of carpark areas for storage and processing of goods as well as the conversion of residential units to workers dormitories.  See Table 2. 

Description of violation

Jan - Jun 2009

Jan - Jun 2010

Change of use without approval

572

645

Fire safety works without approval

92

128

Table 2: Notice of Fire Safety Offence (By Type of Offence)

SCDF TAKES FIRM ACTION ON FIRE SAFETY VIOLATIONS

SCDF takes violations of fire safety requirements seriously and will not hesitate to take firm actions against building management who do not promptly take action to rectify fire safety violations despite warnings and fines.  Court action will be taken for serious cases.  Between Jan to Jun 2010, 60 charges were filed for court actions against fire safety offenders.  This is an increase of 28 cases from the 32 court actions from Jan to Jun 2009.  Of the 60 court actions, 40 were for change of use without approval and 6 were for carrying out unauthorised fire safety works. 

 

Description of violation

Jan - Jun 2009

Jan - Jun 2010

Change of use without approval

13

40

Fire safety works without approval

5

6

Table 3: Court Prosecution Charges

[1] The Wildfire Task Force Committee comprises representatives from SCDF, MINDEF/DSTA, HDB, SLA, PUB, NEA and NParks.

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Last updated on 9th Oct 2014