Online portal helps citizens prepare for emergencies

One morning, you turn on the TV and find out that Singapore is in full quarantine because of an outbreak of bird flu.

To contain the outbreak, people are advised against leaving their homes. Shops across the island are told to shut.

For how long, nobody knows.

If such an emergency occurs, would you know what to do?

To ensure that Singaporeans are prepared for all manner of emergencies, the Government has revamped its online crisis portal to provide more information and updates on handling emergencies.

Called Emergency 101 (http://e101.gov.sg), the site gives information such as the basic items you need for an emergency kit, how to stockpile on food rations, and how to plan for different emergencies.

It also directs users to other sources of information required in an emergency, such as contact numbers of government agencies, links to download smartphone apps and tips on life-saving skills.

Before the revamp, which was announced earlier this week, the website only posted news updates and announcements on emergencies, and emergency phone numbers and links to emergency-related information on other government agency websites.

MsK Bhavani, director of the Emergency Preparedness Division within the Ministry of Information,Communication and the Arts (Mica), said that the site was revamped so that it would be a one-stop website for emergency-related information.

Pooled information "The various government agencies have very critical information available to the public," said Ms Bhavani. "Mica pooled together the information on one platform for the public's easy access and information.

"The platform helps prepare them for emergencies while at the same time, inform them of current developments."

According to the website, emergency situations that could affect Singaporeans include civil emergencies (fires and power outages), terrorist attacks, disease outbreaks and environmental hazards (haze, floods and radiation leaks).

"Singapore is small but part of a globalised world," said Ms Bhavani.

"We should be prepared for any eventuality.

The revamp of this website is part of this preparatory work."

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