Disaster evacuation set to go high-tech

Disaster evacuation set to go high-tech
The SCDF carrying out an emergency evacuation drill at the Singapore Grand Prix. Its Hazmat unit has issued a tender for a prototype system - essentially a conveyor belt for humans - to deploy, for instance, in a mass-casualties incident.

SINGAPORE - The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) wants to blunt the potentially deadly impact of a dirty bomb or gas attack here with new technology.

The key: to get casualties out of disaster zones or places under siege fast. And the solution, believes the SCDF Hazmat, or hazardous materials department, is automation.

The unit, which responds to industrial accidents or incidents involving toxic chemicals or hazardous materials, put out a tender on the government procurement website GeBiz late last month for an "automated casualty conveyance system" that is more effective at moving incapacitated casualties than stretchers.

The prototype system, essentially a conveyor belt for humans, must improve the efficiency of moving non-ambulatory victims, especially in the event of a mass-casualties incident, with less manpower, said the SCDF in the tender documents.

While casualty-moving devices already exist on the market, they are mostly collapsible systems that require manual operators to wheel casualties along its length.

The prototype, though, will be a mechanised unit that requires only two emergency responders to monitor the casualty flow. Precious minutes would be saved sending casualties of such disasters from a decontamination point to an area where they can receive first aid.

The SCDF also wants the self-powered unit to be capable of running for two hours on its own.

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