The Queenstown HeartSavers Connect, together with SCDF firefighters and police officers, evacuated about 60 residents from the 7th to the 16th floor when a fire broke out in a kitchen of a HDB unit at Lengkok Bahru on the evening of 16 April 2020. No one was injured.
Queenstown HeartSavers Connect is a volunteer-run group by the Queenstown grassroots that was established on 10 November 2018. It organises first aid, life-saving and emergency preparedness workshops for residents and volunteers in the community. In addition, they provide events’ first aid coverage and assist in crowd and security management. With the emergence of COVID-19, the team conducted Safe Distancing Ambassador (SDA) patrols around the neighbourhood to ensure that residents are well-equipped with necessary items such as face masks.
“While we were on SDA patrol on 16th April this year, we noticed a Fire Bike and a Light Fire Attack Vehicle speeding passed us. Soon after, a resident ran towards us and informed us about a fire that had occurred at a nearby HDB block” recalled Randy Tan, Team Leader of the HeartSavers.
“At that moment, we suspected that the fire was big and rushed to that area to render assistance.”
When we arrived at the fire scene, a large crowd of onlookers had gathered at an open carpark fronting the affected HDB flat. The fire was so intense that glass fragments were falling from the burning unit.
Wasting no time, the HeartSavers, in consultation with the authorities at the scene, sprang into action to assist in evacuating residents who were residing above the fire affected unit.
“As most residents were at home during the first week of the Circuit Breaker, there was thus a large number of onlookers and evacuees for us to manage, and this is rather challenging,” said Marcus Tan, Deputy Team Leader of the HeartSavers.
“In addition, I personally found that many residents have yet to be accustomed to the new Safe Distancing Measures introduced by the Government then. Hence, when the fire incident occurred, most residents were seen gathered in large groups, shocked at the scale of the fire. We had to advise them to abide by the Safe Distancing Measures.”
When asked what the public can do to step forward to assist those in distress during such emergencies, Ricky Cheng, a volunteer member of the HeartSavers commented, “During an emergency, neighbours are often the first responders who can provide the necessary assistance before emergency services arrive. Therefore, we should always look out for one another in the community.”
“Many people believe that you have to be trained in order to be able to help others in an emergency, but that is not always true. Simple acts like helping your neighbours down the stairs and reassuring them are also examples of lending a helping hand. Of course, having at least a basic knowledge of what to do in emergencies to protect your loved ones and neighbours is excellent. Such knowledge or information is available on SCDF’s website and Facebook Page,” Ricky added.
The Queenstown HeartSavers are grateful for the invaluable assistance and resources provided by the Queenstown Community Emergency & Engagement Committee (C2E) and 1st SCDF Division to improve their life saving and emergency preparedness capabilities for the benefit of the residents of Queenstown constituency.
Members of the Queenstown HeartSavers Connect who stepped forward to help during the HDB unit fire on 16th April 2020: