With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic last year, SCDF’s emergency responders worked round-the-clock, including conveying COVID-19 patients to the hospital. Earlier this month in mid-February, we commemorated Total Defence Day. In Total Defence, everyone has a part to play to ensure the safety and security of our nation. For SCDF, the focus is providing the safety of the community so that life can go on as normal as possible during and after emergencies. Rescue 995 engaged paramedic SGT2 Gwen Ong Sock Puay and emergency medical technician (EMT) SSG Mohammad Aliff Bin Rosli as they shared their experiences during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
On 11 January 2021, over 1,000 SCDF officers involved in front-line healthcare operations received their Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccination at the Temporary Medical Centre set-up at HQ SCDF. Prior to the vaccination, these officers were screened for their eligibility, based on their medical history and pre-existing medical conditions. They received their second dose on 1 February 2021. Rescue 995 engaged Paramedic WO1 Mohamed Shafiee bin Jamin and Emergency Medical Technician SGT3 Muhammad Aerzam bin Abdullah on their experience for being one of the first few SCDF officers to be vaccinated.
It may surprise many of you to think that heroes are not invincible as we do not expect to see vulnerabilities in these extraordinary individuals. The thought that heroes can be as ordinary as you and me may be hard for us to conceive. SCDF’s emergency responders are often seen as heroes who are physically strong, resilient, and are always ready to jump into the thick of action to save lives and properties. However, these front-liners are humans with emotions and vulnerabilities. Every incident, no matter big or small, may at times take a psychological toll on our SCDF officers, which is why even heroes need may need help. This is where SCDF’s Emergency Behavioural Sciences and Care unit (EBSC) comes in. Meet EBSC’s psychologist, Mr Cyrus Chng, who has been providing psychological support and counselling services to members of The Life Saving Force for over two years.
You would have read about Mr Patrick Cheong in the news recently. He had responded to two incidents and was awarded the SCDF’s Community First Responder Award (CFRA) and the Community Lifesavers’ Award (CLA). Mr Cheong is the Chairman of Bedok Community Emergency and Engagement Committee (C2E) and has played a pivotal role in assisting Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and Singapore Police Force (SPF) in organising SGSecure related programmes for the residents in Bedok constituency. Rescue 995 engaged Mr Cheong for an exclusive interview as he shared his experiences as a Community First Responder (CFR) and Grassroot volunteer in Bedok Constituency.
Meet Staff Sergeant (SSG) Ahmad Ridhwan Bin Dahlan, a section commander of the SCDF’s elite Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART) and one of the recipients of the Home Team Sports and Recreation Association (HTSRA) Merit Award 2020. This award acknowledges SSG Ridhwan’s outstanding contribution as a SCDF Multi-sports Convenor and a competitor who represented SCDF’s cycling team, taking it to the podium for the past four years!
MAJOR (MAJ) Abdul Razak Senin and Senior Warrant Officer (SWO1) Irianto Bin Marino can never forget their first overseas operation as rescuers from the newly formed Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART) twenty-seven years ago. It was also the year when they had just graduated from the 1st DART Conversion Course. Five months after the conversion course, on 11 December 1993, a huge mudslide brought on by the heavy December rains triggered the collapse of a 12-storey building on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Within hours, DART rescuers were activated to assist in the rescue mission at Highland Towers in Kuala Lumpur.
Meet COLONEL (COL) Chew Keng Tok who has spent over 16 years as a member of the elite Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART) in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). COL Chew had graduated from the 10th DART Specialist Course in 2003. He joined the elite unit as a Platoon Commander from 2003 to 2006, and later led the unit as the DART Commander for close to five years since 2015. On 26 October 2020, COL Chew was one of the eight DART members who received a medallion each for their immense contributions to the unit over the years. Today, he is the Commander of 2nd SCDF Division.
Meet CPT Saifulbahri Bin Mohd Idris, a training management officer at SCDF 1st Division HQ and one of the recipients of the Home Team Sports and Recreation Association (HTSRA) Merit Award 2020. This award acknowledges CPT Saifulbahri’s outstanding contribution as a Sports Convenor of SCDF’s Sepak Takraw. Under CPT Saifulbahri’s guidance, SCDF’s Sepak Takraw team emerged as champions and runners-up for several tournaments in 2019 and in the early part of 2020 before the start of Covid-19 Circuit Breaker.
In a previous e-article of Rescue 995, SWO (RET) Mohd Salleh Bin Ali, affectionately and commonly known as Encik Agayle, walked us down the memory lane of his life as a firefighter and trainer in the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) for the past 45 years. In this second and final part article, Encik Agayle recalled some of the major incidents which he had responded to during the early days of his career.
LTA (NS) Tran Ngoc Long Gary was elated when he was awarded the NSF of the Year 2020. The 23-year old Rota Commander at Central Fire Station has led his rota in many rescue and fire emergencies. One notable incident includes a Suicide Rescue Incident resulting in no casualty at Havelock Road.