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Be A Guardian: In the Heart of the Action

Lieutenant-Colonel Shaiful Herman Bin Shali explains why he’s equally at home in the heart of the action and helping to build the SCDF’s lifesaving tech capabilities for tomorrow.
Be A Guardian spotlights exciting career, scholarship and sponsorship opportunities in the Home Team.

For Lieutenant-Colonel (LTC) Shaiful Herman Bin Shali of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), being at the heart of the action is one of the most fulfilling parts of his job. 

PHOTO: Peggy Tan

Why did you choose to join the Home Team?
Since I was young, I’ve been fascinated by the subject of Chemistry, and I grew up watching crime shows like CSI

After completing my A Levels, I applied to join the Home Team on a Singapore Government Scholarship. At that time, the SCDF was developing its HazMat (Hazardous Materials) capabilities and I hoped to contribute in that field. I joined the SCDF after graduating with a degree in Chemistry and Management.

I’ve served with the SCDF for over 12 years, and am currently on my seventh posting. Besides serving at Alexandra, Banyan and Tampines Fire Stations, I’ve also completed appointments at the SCDF’s HazMat Department and the Ministry of Home Affairs

I especially enjoyed my stint as a Rota Commander at Alexandra Fire Station. That was where I feel closest to the heart of the action. It was immensely satisfying to help those in distress and rescue persons trapped in accidents.

Tell us about your daily work now.
I hold the concurrent appointments of Commander, Fire Research Unit (FRU), and Commander, Fire Investigation Unit (FIU). In the FIU, I lead my teams to respond to major and complex fire scenes to determine where and how a fire started. This work is closely intertwined with what I do at the FRU. For example, I tap on my investigative and operational experience to highlight gaps in fire safety measures, and also oversee provisions in the Fire Code (including the way we regulate fire safety products).

How are Science and Technology relevant to the SCDF’s work?
Our operational terrain is becoming more complex, with more super high-rise buildings being constructed and the expansion of the petrochemical sector in Singapore. Officers with Engineering, Science and Technology backgrounds can help us to better shape our fire safety provisions, devise effective plans for incident response and incorporate the latest gizmos to enhance our daily operations.

We’ve done well so far. Did you know that many of our international counterparts visit Singapore to learn from us? 

One of the more challenging projects that I undertook was helping our partners at a Middle Eastern country develop a national HazMat response framework. As the principal consultant for the project, I led a team of SCDF subject matter experts to share our knowledge.

In recent years, the SCDF has sharpened its tech capabilities to fulfil its lifesaving mission. PHOTOS: Peggy Tan

What advice do you have for those considering a career in the Home Team?
It’s very important to know what your passion is, because if it is aligned with the work of the Home Team, then a career with us will be immensely rewarding for you. And, if the Home Team piques your interest in any way, visit our career fairs and Open Houses to find out for yourself about the different opportunities we offer. I feel proud to be part of the team that keeps Singapore safe and secure, day and night.

Name three important qualities that SCDF officers should have.
We need to have brains and brawns, for sure! ☺ A third attribute that’s equally important is what we call semangat in Malay. This refers to resilience and the spirit of not giving up when the going gets tough.

Be A Guardian
Turning the spotlight on exciting career, scholarship and sponsorship opportunities in the Home Team: 
Be A Guardian: Serving with Heart (SPF)
Be A Guardian: A Calling to Serve (SPS) 
Be A Guardian: In the Heart of the Action (SCDF)
Be A Guardian: An Eye for Investigations (CNB)
Be A Guardian: One Job, Many Facets (CNB)
Be A Guardian: Making an Impact Where It Counts (SPF)
Be A Guardian: Pushing Herself to Her Limit (SPF)
Be A Guardian: Having a Heart for Those in Need (SCDF)
Be A Guardian: Guiding Inmates onto the Right Path (SPS)
Be A Guardian: Ever Vigilant (ICA)
Be A Guardian: Turning Helplessness to Hope (SPF)
Be A Guardian: Engineering a Fresh Start (MHA)
Be A Guardian: One with the Community (SPF)
Be A Guardian: Empowering Inmates on Their Rehabilitation Journey (SPS)

A Career in the Home Team
If you’re keen to learn more about becoming a Home Team Guardian, visit the MHA website.

Written by

Peggy Tan


15 November 2018

Science and Technology
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