Going Digital: Enhancing Efficiency and Productivity in the Frontlines

May 30, 2023

To provide an edge in carrying out our life saving mission, SCDF has embarked on a digital transformation journey, actively adopting innovative technology that can bring about greater productivity, especially in the frontline units. From 22 to 24 May 2023, a collaborative effort with HTX and Microsoft Singapore, saw the Lifesavers Innovation and Technology (LIT) Space at HQ SCDF, lit up for the “Be a Digital Frontliner” event.

Rescue995 headed down to the LIT Space to catch a glimpse of the up-and-coming technological developments in SCDF’s day-to-day operations. Over 300 SCDF personnel and strategic partners attended the 3-day event and immersed themselves in the wide array of interactive technology and digital applications.

By tapping on Microsoft’s suite of products such as Power Apps and Power Automate, HTX’s engineers from the Civil Defence Programme Management Centre (CDPMC) have worked with SCDF to build a series of applications for SCDF’s frontline officers. This has helped SCDF’s digitalisation of operational procedures has gained significant momentum. Four newly developed apps were introduced through a series of demonstrations, training sessions and challenges. At the same time, attendees also had the opportunity to learn more about how Artificial Intelligence (AI), such as ChatGPT and Generative AI, could streamline existing workflows. Throughout the event, the attendees shared their constructive feedback and user experiences.

DC Ling young En giving a welcome address to the attendees of the "Be A Frontliner" eventDeputy Commissioner Ling Young Ern, DC (Future Technology & Public Safety) giving a welcome address at the “Be A Digital Frontliner” event. PHOTO: SCDF


A warm introduction from Ms Lee Hui Li, Managing Director, Microsoft SingaporeAn introductory address by Ms Lee Hui Li, Managing Director, Microsoft Singapore. PHOTO: SCDF


LTC Dennis Ng explaining Chat GPTLTC Dennis Ng, PSO Data Operations, Transformation and Future Technology Department (TFTD) introducing ChatGPT and other updates related to Artificial Intelligence. PHOTO: SCDF


Ujjwal Kumar Senior MTC Technical Architect, MicrosoftUjjwal Kumar, Senior MTC Technical Architect, Microsoft, sharing Microsoft’s AI capabilities with the audience. PHOTO: SCDF


While the use of these apps is currently in the testing phase, they have shown promising results in accelerating workflows in the frontline units and have significant potential for implementation. Rescue995 takes a closer look at how these apps can help our frontliners be more efficient and productive.

In the past, the assignment of fire station personnel for shift duty requires much planning and manual input from the officer-in-charge.  He or she would need to carefully consider the experience level, skillset, and availability of all their personnel, before assigning them to the appropriate appliances.  This process was time-consuming, but necessary to ensure a balanced distribution of personnel across all the fire appliances.  With the introduction of the Automated Duty Assignment App (ADA), station personnel can be automatically assigned to appliances that they are trained for. This is made possible by algorithms and the analysis of work patterns, making the assignment of station personnel automated and seamless.

“The ADA app reduces the steps required for the team planner to assign work schedules to our firefighters, ensuring that our personnel are assigned to the right roles based on their skillsets,” said Major (MAJ) Fung Ka Kin, Commander Paya Lebar Fire Station.


Ms Lee Hui Li, Eric Yap and SM of the two organisations given a brief sharing on some of the newly developed appsMs Lee Hui Li, Managing Director, Microsoft Singapore and COMR Eric Yap, Commissioner SCDF, together with Senior Management of SCDF, HTX and Microsoft Singapore, viewing demonstrations of the newly developed apps. PHOTO: SCDF


The Regimental Duty Roster App is designed with in-built logics and algorithms to auto-assign our personnel to their respective regimental duties. In our current system, officers need to log on to intranet with their WOG laptop to select their preferred duty slot in the system. Sometimes, officers might not be able to book their preferred slots if they are engaged in work when the duty is opened for booking. The new app will change this approach by centralising the information about the duty rosters and automating the distribution of duties.

“With this app, our officers will not have to wait for the current system opening to book their slots. The Regimental Duty Roster App will automate this process for them. Officers can use their phones anytime to view their duty slots and to perform mutual exchange if required.” Lieutenant Colonel (LTC) Ivan Kwok explained.


Mr Ling Kok Yong, COMR Eric Yap and SCDF SM given a brief walkthrough on the functions of the RDR appMr Ling Kok Yong (first from left), Director, Civil Defence Programme Management Centre, HTX, COMR Eric Yap and SCDF Senior Management had a brief walkthrough on the functions of the Regimental Duty Roster App. PHOTO: SCDF


The Interactive Troubleshooting App (ITA) is designed as a self-help platform for frontliners who need to perform any troubleshooting on SCDF appliances.  With this app, frontliners can keep appliances in an operationally ready state, with minimal downtime.

“In the past, whenever we had issues with any emergency appliance, we used to call the contractor and explain the issue to them over the phone. It may take a while before someone is sent over to help us resolve the issue,” explained LTC Hairi. “The mobile app provides the user with an easy-to-use step by step troubleshooting guide for them to self-help. If it still does not resolve the issue, then the maintenance contractor can be dispatched via the app to rectify the fault. An e-mail will also be sent to the vendor that details the vehicle issues as well as the steps that the user had taken. This significantly reduces the waiting time to resolve issues with appliances.”

The Food Indentation and Consumption App (FICA) allows staff in the Civil Defence Academy to indent meals and track the consumption on the move. This application will eventually replace the current iConsume system, bringing about more convenience and efficiency in administration, while reducing costs.


A general interface of the Interactive Troubleshooting AppA dashboard of crew composition generated by the Automated Duty Assignment App. PHOTO: SCDF / Thomas Lim


Attendees were given a brief walkthrough on the function of the Food Indentation and Consumption AppAttendees were also given a brief overview of the Food Indentation and Consumption App. PHOTO: SCDF / Thomas Lim


In addition to the demonstrations of the newly developed applications, Microsoft and HTX also set up booths, conducting hands-on training and demonstrations on app-building, to engage the attendees.


SCDF SM attempting the build-an-app challengeSCDF Senior Management engaged in the build-an-app challenge. PHOTO: SCDF


SCDF attendees undergoing a brief training by HTX on the process of building an appSCDF attendees learning how to build an app with HTX. PHOTO: SCDF


“Be a Digital Frontliner” is a significant milestone in SCDF’s journey to digitalise operational processes and build a digital workforce to better serve the community. SCDF looks forward to closer collaboration with its key partners to make this digital transformation journey a sustained and fruitful one in the years to come.


SCDF Senior Management @ Go Digital


Akif Kamsani - Intern of SCDF