Lessons learnt from riot: SCDF

SCDF LTC Daniel Seet Siow Teck.

SINGAPORE - Lieutenant-Colonel Daniel Seet, commander of the 1st SCDF Division that oversees an area which includes Little India, revealed that the damage to SCDF equipment amounted to nearly $167,000.

He also told the Committee of Inquiry what the SCDF had learnt from the incident.

A GUIDE TO CIVIL DISORDER

Lt-Col Seet said there needed to be a guide on what to do in cases of civil disorders such as riots, sit-ins and illegal parades.

The SCDF will be working with the police on a list of standard operating procedures.

MORE AWARENESS OF CIVIL DISORDER

He said that SCDF officers had limited training when it came to dealing with civil disorder scenarios. There will be courses at the Civil Defence Academy to address this.

ENHANCE ELEMENTS ON UNCERTAINTY

Training sessions where there is an element of surprise served SCDF officers well during the riot because they were able to make decisions quickly and were prepared for nearly every scenario. Lt-Col Seet said more of such elements would be included in their basic training.

IMPROVE OFFICER AND VEHICLE PROTECTION

Each SCDF ambulance has a helmet to be used when it responds to traffic accidents. Lt-Col Seet said this was not enough.

During the riot, the firefighters were better protected than the ambulance crews because each of them had a helmet and firesuit.

As a result, all SCDF vehicles would now be equipped with more protective equipment, including more helmets.

All SCDF vehicles responding to civil unrest situations will also be fixed with riot wire mesh to protect the windows.

MAKE USE OF TECHNOLOGY

All SCDF vehicles are equipped with cameras, which feed real-time images back to the operations and control rooms so commanders have a sense of what is happening on the ground.

This was very useful during the riot because they could see what was happening and decide when it was too dangerous. SCDF officers used this to update their police counterparts on Dec 8.

They are now working on a system that the police can tap to help with their operations.

By deploying a duty fire officer and a media officer to the scene, they provide additional pairs of eyes and ears. These officers can also capture images that can be quickly provided to the media.

TAPPING SOCIAL MEDIA

While details of the riot were unfolding on social media, it was an untapped resource.

Lt-Col Seet said that fire departments in other countries are using the information and the SCDF is looking into how it can do the same.

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