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At Home with the Home Team (Part 2)

Our very own Joseph Chan, a Home Affairs Senior Executive with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), shares his experience at the inaugural Home Team Foundation Course (HTFC) in January.
Work hard, play hard: HTFC course-mates taking part in team sports. PHOTO: Home Team Academy

Greetings! Welcome to Part 2 of a photo-essay about my HTFC experience. If you’ve yet to read Part 1 about how the Home Team eases new officers into their journey to keep Singapore safe and secure, do check it out here.

Putting our learning to the test at Exercise HOTO. PHOTO: Home Team Academy
Hands-On Experience
The visits, lessons and bonding sessions were a prelude to the climax of the HTFC - Exercise Home One Team Operations (HOTO). The practical component of our course, this was a full-day activity where we experienced various scenarios that Home Team Departments encounter on a day-to-day basis. In essence, it was time for a hands-on experience. Our day began at the Home Team Academy (HTA) Simulation Centre, where we were placed at consoles to role-play various positions in a Command Centre. This was a great, hands-on way to appreciate the communication and coordination required to ensure the security of a large-scale event.

Searching a vehicle for contraband items and drugs. PHOTO: Home Team Academy
Following the simulation, we conducted vehicle searches to look for contraband items and drugs. It was eye-opening to see how detailed and observant our colleagues from the Immigrations & Checkpoints Authority and Central Narcotics Bureau have to be, in order to foil the unconventional methods of criminals.

Learning about search procedures in a simulated prison environment. PHOTO: Home Team Academy

We also took turns hiding “contraband items” in a simulated prison area. While it was fun to hide the items and observe my course-mates struggling to uncover them, when it was my turn to search, I found it difficult. This made me realise the challenges our Singapore Prison Service colleagues face in ensuring that our prison clusters are safe and free from such items.

Applying crime scene protocols at the HTTC. PHOTO: Home Team Academy

The second part of Exercise HOTO took place at the Home Team Tactical Centre (HTTC), where we got to experience some of the procedures and methods employed by the Singapore Police Force and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). We took photos of a “crime scene” and dusted for fingerprints, work that gave us a glimpse of the meticulous work that must be done to solve a crime.

Fired up: Learning to fight a bus fire together. PHOTO: Home Team Academy

The SCDF portion of Exercise HOTO had us suiting up to take on different scenarios that SCDF officers experience every day. We put on bunker gear, complete with breathing apparatus, and worked as a team to extinguish a bus fire.

A taste of hazmat training. PHOTO: Home Team Academy
Realism was the name of the game. I also put on the SCDF hazmat suit, transferred a dummy casualty onto a stretcher and carried it up a flight of stairs. While the hazmat suit is meant to effectively protect against hazardous chemicals, it was equally effective at sealing in perspiration. Putting on the mask immediately made me struggle to breathe normally and I had immense respect for our SCDF colleagues.

Fostering a One Home Team Spirit
The end of Exercise HOTO also marked the close of the HTFC for us. Not only did the course provide solid learning opportunities, it also fostered an environment that helped new officers like myself build bonds with our fellow officers. We played sports, shared stories about our work and even celebrated birthdays together. It was very heartening to see course-mates open up as the days progressed.

After two weeks, I departed with a wealth of knowledge, plenty of good memories, even more photos and a greater appreciation for our Home Team officers and how they work to keep our country safe and secure.


About Joseph
Joseph is a 25-year-old Communications graduate who recently joined MHA as a Media Relations Executive. In his free time, he likes to hang out with family and friends; play and watch different sports; listen to and make music; and eat very large portions.

To learn about a career with the Home Team, visit the MHA website.

Written by

Joseph Chan


23 February 2018

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