Premises' owners must comply with fire safety guidelines

SINGAPORE - We agree with Mr Mike Fleming ("Safety concerns in supermarkets"; last Saturday) that goods placed in front of entrances and exits of supermarkets may pose an obstruction, which can hamper fire-fighting efforts and impede the quick evacuation of people during a fire emergency.

In the first half of this year, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) conducted close to 7,000 enforcement checks on industrial, commercial and residential premises, of which about 40 per cent were based on public feedback.

Arising from these checks, about 3,000 notices of fire safety-related offences were issued to commercial premises, which included shops and supermarkets.

In relation to outdoor display areas, premises' owners are required to comply with fire safety guidelines, such as having a clear passageway width of at least 1.2m in front of the shop/supermarket and a 1m width of separation between rows of goods.

The SCDF takes fire safety violations seriously and will not hesitate to take tough enforcement actions against offenders. First-time offenders may be fined up to $5,000. Recalcitrant and repeat offenders will be prosecuted in court. If found liable for the offence in court, offenders can be fined up to $10,000 or jailed for up to six months, or both.

We thank Mr Fleming for his feedback and civic-mindedness. We urge members of the public who spot any fire hazards to report them to the SCDF, by calling our fire hazard reporting line on 1800-280-0000 or e-mailing us at

In addition, the public can also submit photos and a brief description of the fire hazard using the mySCDF mobile phone application, which can be downloaded from Apple and Android app stores. Such feedback will go a long way towards enhancing fire safety in our buildings and premises.

- Leslie Williams (Lieutenant-Colonel)

Assistant Director (Public Affairs Department)

Singapore Civil Defence Force

This article was first published on September 24, 2014.
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