On Assignment
Keeping Our Community Safe ― A Collective Responsibility
A group of Civil Defence (CD) Lionhearters from ITE College Central and Nanyang Polytechnic installed smoke detectors in 50 rental residential units in Toa Payoh.

"My parents say there is now a hero in the family," said student Muhammad Safwan Bin Salim when asked what his family members thought about the way he was spending his Sunday.

"But I am just doing my part to help the community, and I hope that through today's outreach, we can help the residents learn different ways to keep themselves safe," added the modest 20-year-old Civil Defence (CD) Lionhearter from ITE College Central.

Safwan was one of over 30 zealous CD Lionhearters from ITE College Central and Nanyang Polytechnic who turned up at Toa Payoh for an important mission in the early morning of 12 June 2016.

Engineering student and Vice President of Nanyang Polytechnic's CD Lionhearter Club Raahgini Chandrasegaran, too, could not think of any better way to spend the lovely morning.

"Community service is my hobby, my passion. I have had an interest in it since secondary school. Today's outreach,for example, will benefit the residents. Such activities are important for the community and volunteering helps get more people together to make these activities happen," said 20-year-old Raahgini.

That sunny Sunday, these student volunteers and their teachers joined grassroots leaders and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) officers in installing smoke detectors in 50 rental residential units in Toa Payoh. They also imparted fire safety, life-saving and emergency evacuation knowledge to these 50 households during the installation.

"Being part of this project is meaningful to me because helping others to know how to react to emergencies can help save lives," said Safwan, who, like Raahgini, prepared himself for the outreach effort by reading up on useful fire prevention tips and learning how to communicate these in different languages.

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 (From left) Ms Lee Bee Lian, Raahgini and Safwan believe that more people can come on board by learning and sharing basic life-saving and fire safety tips. PHOTO: Mabelle Yeo
 

Organised by the Ministry of Home Affairs' SGFuture team, the Community Emergency & Engagement (C2E) committee of Toa Payoh's Citizens’ Consultative Committee, ITE College Central, Nanyang Polytechnic and the SCDF, this little project aimed to harness the power of every individual through training and volunteer service to make communities safer, stronger, and better prepared to prevent and respond to any emergency before it happens.

"It was heartening to watch how the CD Lionhearters engaged the residents here. Their sincere desire to help and share fire safety information was amazing and many of the residents were very receptive to them," said Mr Chai Yann Bin, Senior Assistant Director (Policy Development) from the Ministry of Home Affairs. "There is a limit as to how much crisis the SCDF can attend to at any given point in time, so ground initiatives and collaborations such as this are helpful."

Volunteers and the community at large are a very important source of help that will allow the SCDF's emergency responders to tend to those who need critical, immediate help.

"This smoke alarm can help alert us to any fire. We can then quickly get together to help our neighbours too," said 82-year-old Mdm Lee in fluent Hokkien.

Jovial Mdm Lee has been staying in the neighbourhood for decades. Other residents welcomed the CD Lionhearters' visits too, having witnessed occurring fire incidents in the block. Most of these 50 households consist of lonely elderlies and people in need.

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 Mdm Lee and the CD Lionhearters who helped install a smoke detector or alarm in her home on 12 June 2016.  PHOTO: Mabelle Yeo
 

The smoke detectors will alert the residents of any occurrence of smoke or fire, allow them to make prompt escape or provide communal assistance before any fire escalates and, in the process, prevent injuries and fatalities from happening.

Volunteers like the CD Lionhearters play an integral part in our ongoing nationwide effort to strengthen community safety and preparedness through increased civic engagement.

Regardless of age or language, they are trained and well-equipped with essential life-saving skills such as CPR and they help spread critical safety information to enable fellow citizens to play an active role in better protecting themselves, their families, friends and neighbours from harm.

"There is a growing urgency for more active volunteering to help spread awareness and educate the community. Many people still do not know basic life-saving skills," noted concerned Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit Lieutenant (Volunteer) Ms Lee Bee Lian, who is also Advisor to Nanyang Polytechnic's CD Lionhearter Club.

"More people should attend the Emergency Preparedness Day events happening near them this year so they can acquire the necessary knowledge to better prepare and protect themselves," said Raahgini.

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 "Community service is my hobby, my passion. I have had an interest in it since secondary school. Today's outreach,for example, will benefit the residents. Such activities are important for the community and volunteering helps get more people together to make these activities happen," said 20-year-old Raahgini (left). PHOTO: Mabelle Yeo
 

The community's safety and level of preparedness are indeed our collective responsibility.

The installation project exemplified, in its little way, what the SGSecure movement is hoping to achieve―the fostering of collaboration among all sectors of the community, such that anyone can participate in making their communities safer, stronger, and also more resilient against accidents, the threats of terrorism, crime, and crises of all kinds.

"The students and grassroots members connected well with the elderly residents today and we truly hope more volunteers can come on board to help create safety awareness amongst the needy especially. Together, we can keep Singapore and our neighbours safe," said Mr Han Kum Kwang, Teacher-in-charge of ITE College Central (Ang Mo Kio)'s CD Lionhearters Club.

Let's join these youths, their teachers, our Home Team officers, National Servicemen and other volunteers in keeping Singapore safe and secure, together.

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 CD Lionhearters and grassroots volunteers at Toa Payoh on 12 June 2016. PHOTO: Lee Zhen Huan
 

Inspired to be a Home Team Volunteer? Visit www.htv.gov.sg today!

© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.


  1. by Mabelle Yeo
  2. 12 June 2016
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