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Be A Guardian: At the Forefront of Life-saving Innovation

CPT Leon Yip of SCDF pursues innovation to save lives.
GRAPHIC: Phylicia Poon

Be A Guardian showcases fulfilling career, scholarship and sponsorship opportunities in the Home Team.

Imagine a world where drones are deployed to fight fires, raining water from above to extinguish flames. This may sound far-fetched, but Captain (CPT) Leon Yip of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) is determined to make it – and other life-saving innovations like it – possible. 

Why did you choose to join the Home Team?
I underwent my National Service with the Singapore Police Force, and at that time, was considering applying for a scholarship. I’m a bit of a thrill-seeker and decided on a career that would allow me to save lives and make a real difference. That’s why I joined SCDF in 2017.  

Can you share with us what you do at work?
As a member of SCDF’s Transformation and Future Technology Department, I work in the field of Innovation Development. This involves engaging potential partners to find out what how they can help SCDF raise its capabilities. I also have weekly discussions with public agencies such as GovTech and JTC Corporation about how we can collaborate on projects to provide shared services to members of the public. 

I also share the takeaways from these meetings with my fellow officers to explore how we can use concepts such as crowd-sourcing in our life-saving efforts. This process was important to how we conceptualised SCDF’s myResponder mobile app, for example. 

While my work is geared towards developing new technology and capabilities, what excites me just as much is how we’re helping to evolve SCDF’s community engagement efforts. I’m looking forward to having the community play a bigger role in saving lives.

What’s one thing that you’d like to share about SCDF that the community at large may not know about?

Beyond firefighting, SCDF is largely involved in fire prevention and takes a serious view of fire safety. If you look around any building, for example, you’ll notice that water sprinklers are thoughtfully positioned throughout, together with fire extinguishers and fire hose reels. The locations of the nearest emergency exit are also purposefully planned. These measures can help to save lives in the event of a fire.
PHOTO: Ashley Tuen

How have tech advancements impacted life-saving?
On the most immediate level, technology helps us perform our operations more efficiently, with less manpower. For example, we can now deploy a range of vehicles and robots to help us fight fires, greatly reducing the exposure to risk that firefighters face at the front line. 

Technology can also help SCDF bridge the gap between us and members of the public. The myResponder app is a great example of how technology enables SCDF to achieve our vision of "A Nation of Life-savers," one where people come together to offer timely help to those in need before the arrival of SCDF officers.

We’re also exploring how we can deploy drones to extinguish fires and how our officers can use Virtual Reality to “enter” a fire scene before deploying life-saving robots for more effective rescues. These possibilities are endless, and that to me is the exciting future of SCDF emergency operations.

Can you share one quality that’s important for Home Team officers to have?
Resilience – know when to accept setbacks, then strive to improve. Keep knocking on the door until you arrive at a desired outcome.

What advice do you have for those considering a career in the Home Team?
Try not to focus on why you should join the Home Team, but rather, ask yourself what will make you stay. Doing your job with pride is a conscious decision that you make every day. Once you feel strongly about what you do, you’ll continue to give it your all.

Be A Guardian of Our Home
A recipient of the Local Merit Scholarship (SCDF), CPT Leon Yip holds a Degree in Sociology from the National University of Singapore and is currently a Senior Staff Officer at SCDF’s Transformation and Future Technology Department.

PHOTO: Leon Yip

Keen to become a Home Team Guardian? Visit the MHA Careers webpage to find out more about Sponsorship and Scholarship opportunities.
- Be A Guardian: A Focus on People, from the Ground to Policymaking
- Be A Guardian: When Values and Vocation are Aligned
- Be A Guardian: More than Just Investigations
- Be A Guardian: Building Up the Home Team

Written by

Phylicia Poon


21 January 2020

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