SINGAPORE- A smaller, lighter but souped-up version of the now-familiar Red Rhino emergency response vehicle will hit Singapore roads next month.
The compact vehicle will be the first of its kind in the world to house an integrated compressed air foam system, which extinguishes fire more effectively than water. It was launched by Second Minister for Home Affairs S. Iswaran yesterday at the Singapore Expo in Tanah Merah.
Mr Iswaran also paid tribute to the Singapore Civil Defence Force's pioneers and the role they played in building the force into the highly professional unit it is today.
"Many of these veterans had courageously fought major fires such as the Bukit Ho Swee fire in 1961, and the Robinsons' fire in 1972. They overcame unprecedented challenges in major search and rescue operations such as the Hotel New World Collapse in 1986... The SCDF of today rests on the foundations of these pioneer officers," he said.
He added that innovation was a key driving factor in SCDF's progress and highlighted the new Red Rhino.
Speaking to The Sunday Times, SCDF Commissioner Eric Yap said that conventional fire engines would never be able to enter spaces such as multi-storey or basement carparks, and the new vehicle would make emergency response quicker and more effective.
Mr Yap said that the new Red Rhino - which was built after taking into account feedback from officers - is made of light fibreglass, so the vehicle can carry the 170kg compressed air foam system. "This is a breakthrough. Compressed air foam knocks down fire much quicker than water or ordinary foam," he said.
The foam, which is carried on traditional fire engines, extinguishes fire four times faster than water. The new vehicle also has space for an additional seat for, say, an emergency medical technician, so injured people can get treatment faster. Officially called the Light Fire Attack Vehicle, it will also sport the SG50 logo to mark the nation's 50th birthday next year. There will be 11 of these vehicles on the roads by June next year.
About 60 per cent of fire and rescue incidents every year are handled by the Red Rhinos, which were introduced 14 years ago, the SCDF said.
This article was first published on Sep 14, 2014.
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