Meaningful and Enriching National Service

April 20, 2021

Emergency Medical Technicians and Fire & Rescue Specialists — these are typical examples of vocations associated with full-time National Service in SCDF. However, there are many other NSF vocations in the Lifesaving Force and one of which is the Data Analytics Specialists in the SCDF’s Transformation & Future Technology Department (TFTD). Here the full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) are trained to assist in managing projects involving computing and data analysis. These NSFs are selected based on their academic background and/or inclination towards computing and engineering.


LCP(NSF) Ian Tay Rongde (left) and LCP(NSF) Mahadhir Bin Mohd Ismail (right) working on their assignments in office.LCP(NSF) Ian Tay Rongde (left) and LCP(NSF) Mahadhir Bin Mohd Ismail (right) working on their assignments in office.


Among the NSFs who are selected for this unique vocation in TFTD are LCP(NSF) Ian Tay Rongde and LCP(NSF) Mahadhir Bin Mohd Ismail.


LCP(NSF) Ian is part of a team working on an algorithm to support the Inventory Management System (IMS) which enables the SCDF to be more proactive and efficient in ensuring that its life saving inventory is readily available.


“The IMS is an automated system that prompts officers in the Logistics Department whenever there is depleting item in a storage that requires replenishment. The algorithm that we are working on aims to reduce the chances of item shortages by ensuring frequent and prompt replenishment of items,” explained LCP(NSF) Ian. He has been working on the project since October 2020, just four months into his posting at TFTD.


LCP(NSF) Ian added that programming the algorithm to ensure the efficiency of the IMS requires weeks of academic research, system testing and evaluation.


LCP(NSF) Ian Tay Rongde


Working on the Dynamic Resource Optimisation (DRO) is LCP(NSF) Mahadhir, who was posted to TFTD in January 2020. The DRO is a system developed by Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX) and the Singapore Management University (SMU). It aims to assist SCDF’s Operations Department and Emergency Medical Services Department (EMSD) in making strategic decisions to deploy emergency vehicles, such as ambulances, at different locations across Singapore. Doing so will optimise the response time of ambulances to incident sites during an emergency.


“The recent simulation we are working on is for the EMS masterplan, which aims to increase the number of deployment locations across the island,” said LCP(NSF) Mahadhir. “The selection of the new deployment locations is based on historical data. Locations nearer to places with higher call loads will be given a higher priority, which means we will deploy more ambulances to that area.”


Before his posting to TFTD, LCP(NSF) Mahadhir was still exploring his career options. It was during his stint with TFTD that he developed a keen interest in computer science. He is now planning to pursue a degree in computer science after serving his full-time National Service.


LCP(NSF) Mahadhir Bin Mohd Ismail


“Engineering is gearing towards the use of automated systems and big data analysis. Python and Excel are vital software skills to have if you want to pursue a career in Engineering or Computer Science. Hence, the skills and knowledge we learn here in TFTD help us to think like data scientists, and prepare us well for our future pursuits in our studies and career,” LCP(NSF) Ian commented.


LCP(NSF) Ian has attained a scholarship to pursue a degree in material engineering at the National University of Singapore. He plans to subsequently do his master’s degree in data analytics. He added that serving his NS in TFTD is not only meaningful and enriching but also provides him and his fellow NSFs an added advantage for their future endeavours.