Fewer fires, but more cases of SCDF officers abused in first half of 2015

Fewer fires, but more cases of SCDF officers abused in first half of 2015
PHOTO: The Straits Times

SINGAPORE - There has been a rise in cases of Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) personnel being abused while attending to patients in the first half of the year.

In a statement on Tuesday, SCDF said that in the first six months of 2015, there were 10 reported cases of its Emergency Medical Services (EMS) personnel being verbally or physically abused while attending to patients.

This represents an increase from the six cases of abuse that were reported from the first six months of last year.

"Our EMS personnel save lives by providing critical emergency medical care. SCDF does not condone any forms of physical or verbal abuse against our officers and will lodge police reports if any of its personnel is abused," SCDF said in its statement.

Meanwhile, SCDF also revealed that it responded to 2,406 fire calls between Jan and Jun this year, which was a decrease of five per cent from the 2,532 fires it responded to in the same period last year.

From the 2,406 incidents, there were a total of 64 casualties, with 31 of them being smoke inhalation cases, 29 fire injuries and four fatalities.

"Dropped light cases" was the cause for the majority of fires, contributing to 1,343, or 55.8 per cent of all fires.

Meanwhile, rubbish fires continued to make up the bulk of fires in residential premises at 54.6 per cent, or 801 out of 1,467 cases. SCDF noted that these tended to increase over festive periods, possibly due to indiscriminate disposal of lighted materials such as sparklers, charcoal and incense materials.

The number of fires in commercial premises, including eating estabishments, dropped by 18.6 per cent, while vegetation fires continued to form the bulk (77.5 per cent) of fires in non-building premises from the first half of the year.

There was also a drop in the number of fires that broke out while vehicles were travelling on the road from 114 to 91 cases. SCDF said that most of these were caused by ignition sources such as electrical faults and overheating in the engine compartment.

SCDF added that it had conducted 8,244 fire safety enforcement checks and issued 1,850 Notices of Fire Safety Offence between Jan and Jun this year, 18 per cent and 34.1 per cent more respectively than in the same period last year.

While the number of fires has dropped, SCDF did respond to more EMS calls in the first half of this year at 81,686 calls, a 7.4 per cent rise from the first half of 2014.

The vast majority (94.3 per cent) of EMS calls were emergency calls. Of these, 57,904 calls were medical-related, 5,380 calls. were road traffic accidents-related, and 13,723 calls were related to other trauma cases such as industrial accidents and falls.

SCDF announced that it will be gradually expanding its EMS fleet to 80 operational ambulances by 2018 from the current 50.

seanyap@sph.com.sg

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