HDB flats are designed to meet the prevailing fire safety codes and requirements ("Backup fire exits in HDB flats?" by Ms Ada Chan Siew Foen; Forum Online, Oct 30; and "Improve fire safety in HDB flats" by Dr V. Subramaniam, Nov 4).
Each flat is designed to contain and minimise the spread of fire to other units. And all blocks are designed with exit staircases to facilitate safe evacuation, while fire escape routes such as corridors and stairways are well-ventilated for efficient smoke dispersal. Riser systems are also provided within the blocks for firefighting operations.
Residents play a critical role in preventing fire outbreaks.
Inside their flats, they should pay attention to fire safety measures and practise good housekeeping. For instance, they should replace frayed wires, avoid leaving any cooking unattended and refrain from keeping large quantities of combustible materials such as old newspapers.
Outside their flats, they should not discard unwanted items in the common areas as these could pose fire risks and obstruct evacuation during emergencies.
The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) recognises the need for close collaboration with the community.
Each year, 48 Emergency Preparedness Day events are held islandwide to encourage residents to adopt emergency preparedness as a way of life. During these events, residents acquire fire safety knowledge and participate in block evacuation drills.
In recent years, the SCDF has embarked on Community Safety & Security Programmes, which enlist grassroots volunteers and neighbours to look out for and help vulnerable residents, such as the elderly and those with disabilities, during emergencies.
The public can find out more about fire safety measures from the SCDF Emergency Handbook, which is available at all SCDF division headquarters, fire stations and fire posts, or download it online from the SCDF website at www.scdf.gov.sg Alternatively, they can attend the modular and hands-on Community Emergency Preparedness Programme at the SCDF division headquarters.
We thank the writers for their feedback and will be looking into their suggestions as part of the periodic review of the Fire Code.
A. Razak Raheem (Lieutenant-Colonel)
Director (Public Affairs Department)
Singapore Civil Defence Force
Chong Chung Nee
Director (Project Development & Management)
Housing & Development Board
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