Our community’s emergency preparedness and ability to recover from crisis situations are vital to our nation’s safety and security. To this end, SCDF’s officers from the Division Community Engagement Branches (CEBs) serve as the bridge between SCDF and the public. They work tirelessly with various community partners to conduct public outreach events, such as the Community Resilience Day (CR Day) and the Safety & Security Day (S&S Day). Through these events, the public will gain awareness in emergency preparedness and feel empowered to respond effectively, should any emergency occur.
Rescue995 spoke to two CEB officers, to understand the remarkable work they have done for the community.
As the early morning sun painted the sky on Sunday, our journey led us to Seletaris Condominium in Sembawang. Warrant Officer (WO1) Razali Bin Othman, an Assistant Community Involvement Officer (ACIO) from 3rd SCDF Division, was already busy with the setup for the S&S Day at Seletaris. The S&S Day is a collaboration between the SCDF, SPF, People’s Association (PA), and the SGSecure Programme Office (SSPO) to enhance awareness on fire safety, personal security, and the SGSecure national movement.
Residents eagerly awaiting the start of the S&S Day. PHOTO: SCDF / Thomas Lim
A throng of eager residents had already gathered at the venue and were chatting excitedly in anticipation of the day’s programme. The S&S Day commenced with a simulated fire in a condominium unit. The PA’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) sprang into action, extinguishing the fire swiftly, and facilitated the orderly evacuation of residents through the emergency exit routes.
A CERT member extinguishing an incipient fire during the S&S Day demonstration. PHOTO: SCDF / Thomas Lim
The 3rd Division CEB officers and station crew from Yishun Fire Station were on hand to support the S&S Day. With great enthusiasm, these regular officers and Full-time National Servicemen (NSFs) imparted lifesaving and first aid skills to the residents. In less than three hours, many of the residents had a good grasp of Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) and how to use a fire extinguisher.
Community Engagement Specialists imparting CPR-AED skills to the residents. PHOTO: SCDF / Thomas Lim
Residents having hands-on training with fire extinguishers. PHOTO: SCDF / Thomas Lim
Amid the enthusiasm and positive energy, we spotted WO1 Razali bustling around, as he handed out fire safety brochures and chatted with the residents.
WO1 Razali helping a child wear a firefighter costume. PHOTO: SCDF / Thomas Lim
WO1 Razali posing for a photo with residents at the S&S Day. PHOTO: SCDF / Thomas Lim
During a short break in between activities, we got to speak with WO1 Razali and understand his work as an ACIO.
“S&S Day is one of the programmes we conduct to raise awareness on fire safety and impart basic lifesaving skills to the residents,” said WO1 Razali. “With this knowledge, we hope that the public will safeguard their homes and render assistance during medical emergencies.” During such events, he would strongly encourage residents to learn more lifesaving skills via SCDF’s Community Emergency Preparedness Programme (CEPP), so that they can protect their family members and neighbours.
WO1 Razali explained that after every residential fire, the Division CEBs would conduct a post-fire public education visit for residents of that area. He and his team would go door-to-door, sharing tips on fire prevention and how to safely evacuate in an emergency. WO Razali would often emphasise the importance of Home Fire Alarm Devices (HFAD) and fire extinguishers at home, as they are crucial in the early warning and extinguishment of minor fires.
WO1 Razali Bin Othman at the S&S Day. PHOTO: SCDF / Thomas Lim
“Sometimes, we have to plan our programmes according to the demographics of our participants. Very young children and the elderly may find CPR and the use of fire extinguishers too physically taxing. Nevertheless, I want them to know that they can render assistance in their own ways. If they are familiar with our emergency numbers and the ‘Report’ function of the MyResponder App, they can call for help during emergencies!” said WO Razali. He was also thankful for his previous posting as an instructor at the Civil Defence Academy, which gave him many fresh ideas to make the CEPP training sessions fun and meaningful. For example, he would make use of activities and games to engage young children, allowing them to have fun while driving home emergency preparedness messages. “Young or old, I will definitely have something to teach you!” WO1 Razali remarked.
WO Razali is a firm believer that the lifesaving skills in the CEPP will come in useful, sometimes in unexpected ways. “I recall an incident of a drowning case at the swimming pool of a condominium. Fortunately, one of the residents swiftly performed CPR and the victim survived. Such success stories make us proud of the work we do. As CEB officers, we may not be saving lives with our own hands, but we are empowering many others to do so! Our vision to become A Nation of Lifesavers isn’t that far away after all!” WO1 Razali commented.
A week after we met WO1 Razali, we journeyed to 1st SCDF Division, where we met Lieutenant (LTA) Jasmine Lee, a Public Education Officer from 1st Div CEB. Cheerful and energetic, LTA Jasmine loves her job because it gives her many opportunities to engage and serve the public.
LTA Jasmine Lee interacting with a child at a roadshow. PHOTO: SCDF.
LTA Jasmine was involved in two recent roadshows at the Singapore Road Safety Month Festival and the Centre for Domestic Employees (CDE) NTUC May Day Event. She believes that these roadshows are excellent opportunities for public outreach and education.
“During such roadshows, some members of the public will approach us for a more in-depth training in lifesaving skills. We will gladly invite them to join our CEPP and learn more! The theory and hands-on components of the CEPP will take no more than four hours in total, but it will bring about a lifetime of benefit for participants, who can now save the lives of their families and friends during emergencies,” said LTA Jasmine.
A week ago, LTA Jasmine’s team conducted a large-scale CEPP session for over 300 participants from Team Nila and the SGSecure Programme Office. “Apart from members of the public, we also conduct CEPP for interested organisations,” said LTA Jasmine.
A group photo of SGSecure programme officers and Team Nila volunteers at the CEPP. PHOTO: Team Nila.
Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Culture, Community and Youth of Singapore, Mr Eric Chua (middle) looking on as LTA Jasmine guides a Team Nila volunteer in CPR-AED skills. PHOTO: Team Nila
When asked about the frequency of CEPP sessions, LTA Jasmine revealed, “In the six months since I have become a Public Education Officer, we have been conducting CEPP almost every day, even during the weekends! But we believe that this is a worthwhile endeavour, as it places many lifesavers on the streets and in most homes.”
There is a misconception that people are too busy and apathetic about rendering assistance to those in distress. “That is not true at all. We do have many people approaching us to learn first aid skills during our events and roadshows. Children are often attracted to our interactive booths, so we take the opportunity to engage the whole family in learning lifesaving skills!” said LTA Jasmine.
Rescue995 salutes our CEB officers for their dedication and effort in engaging the community and inculcating emergency preparedness! Thank you for helping to transform Singapore into A Nation of Lifesavers!