Weaving through heavy traffic on their motorcycles, putting out fires with compressed air-foam backpacks and even restarting a heart, SCDF fire bikers are usually the first to arrive at the scene of an emergency. Thanks to their speedy and efficient fire bikes.
The fire bikes were first introduced to combat increasing traffic congestion which delays fire appliances responding to emergencies. This is because response time is a critical factor in preventing the spread of fires. It was not until 2012 that fire bikers began to attend to both fire and medical cases.
“The increasing number of cardiac arrest cases in 2012 was a concern, which was why fire bikers were tasked to attend to such emergencies,” said WO1 Syed Hafiz Bin Syed Shamshudin, team leader of the Emergency Medical Team-Fire Bike Committee and a fire biker for the past 10 years. “Upon arrival at the scene, we make a quick assessment of the ground situation before attending to the patient while waiting for the ambulance to arrive.”
WO1 Syed Hafiz Bin Syed Shamshudin is a fire biker from Marina Bay Fire Station and has been with the Force for close to 17 years.
“As fire bikers, we were the first among the fire and rescue specialists to be enrolled for the 6-week Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) course back in 2016,” recalled WO1 Suhery Bin Suheyar, assistant team leader of the EMT-Fire Bike Committee and a fire biker for the past 12 years. “After the course, we were attached to the ambulances and learning on the job.”
By the time the EMS Tiered Response Framework was implemented in April 2017, WO1 Syed Hafiz and WO1 Suhery along with other fire bikers were already dual-trained as firefighters who are equipped with the knowledge and skillsets of EMTs.
Fire Bikers’ Account From the Frontline
WO1 Suhery Bin Suheyar is a fire biker from Sengkang Fire Station and has been with the Force since 2007.
WO1 Suhery Bin Suheyar was first to arrive at a scene of a fire that engulfed a HDB unit in Serangoon. From a distance, WO1 Suhery saw that the fire was coming out of the windows and shattered glass was falling from the third floor.
“I was hoping that no one was trapped in the unit. Since the fire engine will take a short while to arrive, I ran up to the third floor with my equipment and made a forced-entry into the unit,” WO1 Suhery recalled.
The fire was confined in the bedroom and fortunately, no person was trapped in the unit.
“The only life I saved was a chinchilla which was in the living room. I carried it out from the burning unit to save it from inhaling excessive smoke,” said WO1 Suhery, who believes that all lives are precious, big or small.
SGT3 Muhammad Nasir Bin Muhammad Zaid from Jurong Fire Station, a fire biker for the past 2 years and has been with the Force since 2013.
SGT3 Muhammad Nasir Bin Muhammad Zaid, a fire biker from Jurong Fire Station and a father of two responded to an elderly man who experienced breathing difficulty at Taman Jurong.
“When I arrived at the scene, I noticed that the elderly man was wheezing badly. He was with his 3-year-old granddaughter at that time,” recalled SGT3 Nasir.
While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, SGT3 Nasir assessed the man’s condition, medical history and attended to him while keeping a look out for the girl. The ambulance arrived shortly and the elderly man was conveyed to the hospital.
“Shortly before the ambulance departed, I contacted the girl’s parents to inform them about the incident and to take their daughter home,” said SGT3 Nasir. “As there was no one to look after the girl, I had to stay behind to accompany her until her parents arrived.”
SSG Khairul Zaman Bin Khairudin from Sengkang Fire Station, a fire biker for the past 9 years and has been with the Force since 2009.
SSG Khairul Zaman Bin Khairudin, a fire biker from Sengkang Fire Station received a call from the SCDF Operations Centre informing him about a woman who had fainted.
“When I arrived at the scene, I met the woman’s husband who told me that his wife has given birth. I was shocked!” recalled SSG Khairul. “I couldn’t believe my ears and had to ask the man again to confirm if I heard everything correctly. He was right.”
The man led SSG Khairul to the bathroom where his wife was seated on the floor, holding a baby in her arms. Immediately, SSG Khairul started assessing both the mother and her baby.
“The first thing I did was to check if the baby is alive and that his vital signs are good. More importantly, I had to ensure that the baby is kept warm before I attended to the mother and assessed her condition,” said SSG Khairul. He added, “having medical or lifesaving knowledge and skillsets are important because you never know when you will need them.”
WO1 Sim Han Wei Uriah from Ang Mo Kio Fire Station, a fire biker for the past 5 years and has been with the Force since 2013.
WO1 Sim Han Wei Uriah, a fire biker from Ang Mo Kio Fire Station was notified about a fire on the eleventh floor of a HDB unit in Ang Mo Kio. It was six in the morning and he responded along with his fellow firefighters and EMS crew.
“Upon arrival, we saw flames leaping from the windows of the affected unit along the corridor,” recalled WO1 Uriah. “After we made a forced-entry into the unit, I was the first to enter and began fighting the fire.”
Despite the challenge of manoeuvring their way within the unit that was heavily smoke-logged, WO1 Uriah and the firefighters kept their composure and did all they could to put out the fire.
“It was not long before we heard faint cries of help coming from the kitchen. A male occupant had left the tap water running to cool himself as he was surrounded by fire. As we were rescuing him out from the flames, we were told that a woman was in one of the rooms. We swiftly brought the woman out of the burning inferno,” said WO1 Uriah.
The woman was not breathing and had no pulse and WO1 Uriah immediately commenced cardio-pulmonary resuscitation on her. Unfortunately, the woman succumbed to her injuries later that day. WO1 Uriah remarked, “as an emergency first responder, our role is to do whatever we can to help save lives and protect property. Nonetheless, it is important that we detach ourselves emotionally from such unfortunate incident so that we do not get utterly affected by it.”