Commissioner James Tan,
SCDF and Home Team colleagues,
Partners and grassroots leaders,
Ladies and gentlemen,
A very good evening to everyone
2. I am happy to join you on this significant day to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Singapore Civil Defence Force. This is a momentous occasion for all SCDF officers, as you come together to renew your pledge and dedication to the Force and your mission of saving lives and protecting properties.
3. The SCDF’s operational capabilities have grown from strength to strength. Regionally, the SCDF is becoming increasingly recognised as a leading civil defence agency through its participation in various “Operation Lion Heart” search and rescue missions. At home too, from providing fire fighting, rescue and emergency ambulance services, you have evolved into a formidable force, capable of dealing with complex incidents, such as unconventional threats and mass casualty situations.
Safeguarding our Home – Partnership with the Community
4. But, and this is something that I’ve said before, while our government agencies gear up to counter the threat of terrorism, members of our communities must also actively become part of the nation’s preparedness efforts and be alert and vigilant.
5. Maintaining vigilance alone, however, will not be sufficient. Knowing what to do, and preparing ourselves for emergencies is absolutely necessary. One avenue for the public to hone their knowledge in emergency preparedness is by taking part in the many emergency preparedness programmes organised by the SCDF.
Leveraging on Technology
6. Before the end of this year, the SCDF will be rolling out yet another innovative public education initiative to enhance the way the public can readily access important emergency preparedness advisories. Leveraging on technology, the SCDF will utilise the existing mobile lifestyle of the community to introduce public education information in an interactive video format that is compatible with mobile phones.
7. Short educational video clips on critical emergency preparedness information, adapted from the Civil Defence Emergency Handbook, will be made available on a dedicated webpage on the SCDF website. And, to ensure that we have this information readily on hand, we can download this information and keep it in our mobile phones. You never know, the information may save a life during an emergency.
8. For those members of the public who would like to play a bigger role to help the community, the SCDF’s Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit (CDAU), launched since April this year, will allow you to be more involved. It is indeed heart warming to note that there are already members of public who have already volunteered their time and services to the CDAU in the areas of Fire & Rescue, Emergency Ambulance Service and Public Education. Two new appointments relating to community involvement have been included in the Public Education vocation to allow a wider variety of posts for the volunteers. The unit now has 53 auxiliary members. I urge more Singaporeans to step forward to join this worthy cause.
Partnership with the Industries
9. Fostering bonds within the community also includes nurturing closer working relations with industry partners. In November this year, on top of existing hazardous materials (or hazmat) control measures such as the HazMat Transport Vehicles Tracking System (HTVTS), the SCDF will be working closely with industry partners to launch the ‘Live Inventory Portal’ for hazmat.
10. This portal aims to provide SCDF with an up-to-date picture of the type and amount of hazmat stored in key industries. This information will assist SCDF to deal with emergencies if called to respond to any one of the participating premises. Companies that store flammable materials or petroleum in quantities of more than 5 metric tonnes will be required to update the portal on a daily basis, ensuring that the information is always current. About 430 warehouses, refineries and industrial premises are expected to participate in this scheme.
11. Let me conclude by congratulating our SCDF officers for rising to meet the challenge resolutely time and again. Today, as they rededicate themselves to their mission of saving lives and properties, let us all do our part and bring emergency preparedness knowledge back to our homes and communities.