Wearing the heavy firefighting gears, running into burning buildings,
prying damaged cars to rescue trapped victims, and even restarting the
heart, SCDF fire and rescue specialists are renowned for their quick and
timely response in saving lives and properties.
and rescue specialists, we are operating on a 24-48 shift. Our shift
starts at eight in the morning and ends at eight the next morning.
Thereafter, we would rest for 48 hours before our next 24-hour shift.
This gives us ample time to recuperate physically and spend time with
our loved ones,” said Lieutenant (LTA) Muhammad Bukhary Bin Abu Bakar.
Lieutenant (LTA) Muhammad Bukhary Bin Abu Bakar, father of two and a Rota Commander at Yishun Fire Station, has been a member of The Lifesaving Force for over 12 years.
Bukhary spent six years of his firefighting career in Sengkang Fire
Station and another six years as a rescuer with SCDF’s Disaster
Assistance and Rescue Team (DART). He was also the recipient of the
“Overall Best Cadet” Golden Axe award after graduating from the 21st
Rota Commander Course (RCC). Promoted to the rank of Lieutenant a year
ago, LTA Bukhary now leads his crew of fire and rescue specialists at
Yishun Fire Station.
A TYPICAL DAY FOR A FIRE & RESCUE SPECIALIST
“Our typical day at work consists of mainly exercises, drills and operational routines,” said LTA Bukhary.
added, “During our operational routines, we conduct operational surveys
where we work closely with building owners to survey their premises and
update their premises emergency data. This data is useful for
responders during emergencies. We also conduct fire safety enforcement
checks on industrial buildings as well as evaluate and audit a company’s
Emergency Response Team on its competency in responding to
LTA Bukhary and his crew ensures that every
firefighting equipment is in good working condition at the commencement
of each shift duty. Next comes the morning drill or training where the
crew of fire and rescue specialists refresh their practical knowledge on
rescue and firefighting operations. In the afternoon, LTA Bukhary and
his crew will be involved in physical training and finally, in the
evening, there will be a lecture where they will learn and re-learn
theoretical concepts or operational procedures on rescue and
“From six to seven the next
morning, we will don our Chemical Agent suit together with our training
canister for the Chemical Agent Acclimatization Drill, in which we train
ourselves on simulated scenarios involving chemical agents. These
exercises prepare us for any form of potential chemical incidents,” LTA
To LTA Bukhary, the toughest part of
the shift is at the last two hours, when fire and rescue specialists had
to don their firefighting gears and train on various drills and
“Although we have a structured
routine to abide by, there will be moments when we had to respond to
fire incidents and leave the fire station within one minute. Frankly,
many of us prefer responding to actual incidents than having drills as
it is more exciting and that is when our firefighting skills and
knowledge are well utilised,” said LTA Bukhary.
UFM putting out a massive factory fire
LEVERAGING ON TECHNOLOGY FOR FIREFIGHTING
days, when responding to fire emergencies, we also leverage on robotics
to enhance our firefighting capabilities and to augment the
firefighting force. One good example is the Unmanned Firefighting
Machine (UFM),” added LTA Bukhary.
The UFM is a
purpose-built firefighting appliance that can operate in extreme heat
and hazardous environments. It can also operate in the Mass Rapid
Transit (MRT) tunnel with the rail kit. The UFM has been frequently
deployed in large scale firefighting operations and it greatly reduces
the risk to firefighters.
Bukhary recalls the moment he was posted to a fire station as a junior
officer, he started working very closely with his section mates as well
as getting to know their strengths and shortcomings.
firefighters, we work as a close-knitted team. Every member in a crew
has a critical part to play and we each have our own strengths to get
the job done efficiently,” said LTA Bukhary. “Despite the physically
demanding aspects of the job, what I love most is the camaraderie that
we built with our section mates because we have gone through thick and
thin together. Some of the bonds we built remain inseparable even till
this day, and to me, this is priceless.”
TRAINING TO BE A ROTA COMMANDER
selected for the Rota Commander Course (RCC) are trained at Civil
Defence Academy (CDA) for seven months, honing management and leadership
skills, as well as knowledge on policies and staff writing.
training is the most crucial part of the RCC because as Senior
Officers, your decisions are crucial for relate to life and death
situations, including the safety of your crew. Your crew will look up to
you for directions, so you have to be quick in giving orders especially
at the incident site,” said LTA Bukhary.
Bukhary, then a cadet from the 21st Rota Commander Course, receiving
the “Overall Best Cadet” Golden Axe award from Commissioner Eric Yap
LEADING BY EXAMPLE
As a Rota Commander, LTA Bukhary works hard to inspire his men through his own experiences and leads by example.
I started my career from being a recruit to a Rota Commander, I am able
to relate better with my Junior Officers, and I can understand the
challenges that they faced. As we progress up the ranks, it is our
responsibility as leaders to groom and inspire our juniors with our past
experiences. We need to lead by example,” said LTA Bukhary.