On Assignment
Extending SGSecure to the Communities
Singaporeans are encouraged to pick up skills and knowledge so they know what to do during a terror attack.

The SGSecure national movement was launched on 24 September 2016 by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong at the Singapore University of Technology and Design.

Speaking at the launch, PM Lee stressed the need for the government to step up its measures against terrorism.

“We study closely the attacks and the developments around the world, the modus operandi, the groups, their trends, and where it is happening. We continually update our strategies to detect and to counter extremists, their influences and what it leads to, violence and terrorism,” PM Lee said.

SGSecure is a national movement aimed at enhancing the awareness of terrorism threat and equipping Singaporeans with the skills and knowledge to respond to a terror attack.

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PM Lee practices 'Press, Tie, Tell' at the Skills Training Booth during the launch of the SGSecure national movement. Guests were invited to pick up life-saving skills including CPR-AED and first aid at the booth. PHOTO: Christopher Chen

“SGSecure gives everybody a role protecting ourselves, our families, and our country. We will teach you the skills that you need to do so,” PM Lee added.

Pilot programmes to engage the neighbourhoods, schools, workplaces, community groups, NS and volunteer communities had already been initiated prior to the official launch.

For example, under the revamped Emergency Preparedness (EP) Day, residents picked up skills such as first-aid, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), and automated external defibrillator (AED), as well as participate in emergency drills.

Mdm Saniah Binte Rasban is a member of Chong Pang’s Community Emergency and Engagement (C2E) committee, and the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).

The 56-year-old homemaker believes SGSecure is important for the community as it encourages Singaporeans to be strong, resilient and to be prepared in the face of a terror attack. It was a strong desire to help people that led Mdm Saniah to sign up as a community volunteer seven years ago.

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Mdm Saniah (second from left) joins Prime Minister Lee (middle) and 12 others on-stage to launch the SGSecure national movement. The launch was attended by partner agencies, community and religious leaders, students, key representatives and participants of pilot SGSecure projects. PHOTO: Nizam Neti

“I have always had this urge to help people, no matter what it takes. I joined to learn more in-depth skills, like wrapping bandages and basic stuff, so that I can benefit my family and those in need of help,” she said.

Mdm Saniah recently role-played as a CERT member during the revamped Chong Pang EP Day, and volunteered to help spread the SGSecure message to residents during Chong Pang EP Week to its residents.

The revamped EP day, which is currently in the pilot phase, has been conducted in three constituencies - Chong Pang, Jurong Spring and Toa Payoh West-Balestier. It will be extended to all neighbourhoods in the 89 constituencies over a two-year period beginning March 2017.

The Ministry of Education has also launched the ‘Keep Singapore Safe’ programme at eight schools in line with the SGSecure movement to spread awareness of and advocate cohesion, vigilance and resilience within the school community. To date, the programme has touched more than 6,000 students and educators, with the programme extending to more secondary and post-secondary schools through mobile exhibitions in the coming months.

The SGSecure movement has also reached out to workplaces. Earlier this year, members and partners from the Safety and Security Watch Group (SSWG) put their emergency response protocols to the test in an anti-terror exercise codenamed ‘Exercise Heartbeat’. The SSWG programme is a key conduit for businesses to work together on geographical-based or industry-wide safety and security concerns.

Counter-terrorism seminars were also conducted for SSWG members in July and August this year. In the coming months, SGSecure briefings will be held for union leaders, trade associations and the various chambers of commerce and industry.

As part of efforts to improve community first response under the SGSecure framework, the ‘SMRT-Temasek Cares AED on Wheels’ project was initiated in November 2015. The project, a collaboration between the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), SMRT and Temasek Cares, aimed to increase the number of publicly accessible AEDs by installing them in 100 SMRT taxis.

This would allow for an AED to be quickly delivered to the scene by a CPR-AED trained taxi driver. These drivers would be activated via SCDF’s myResponder mobile app if they are within the vicinity of a cardiac arrest case.

SMRT taxi driver Mr Yap Keng Ho enrolled under the project in November 2015, and has responded to over 20 cases so far. He keeps his myResponder mobile app active even when he is at home to make sure he doesn’t miss a call for assistance.

Mr Yap Keng Ho shows SCDF's myResponder mobile app. Mr Yap was formerly with the St John Ambulance Brigade for 11 years in the 1970s and 1980s. PHOTO: Melvin Mak

“There are some cases where we can make a difference, and whether the victim makes it or not depends on the help that was rendered,” Mr Yap said. Of the cases Mr Yap has responded to, he has had to use the AED at least once.

“There was one case at a nursing home. I was alone and the SCDF had not yet arrived. The nursing home had doctors and nurses who were already administering CPR, but they had no AED. So I used the AED that was provided in the SMRT taxi,” he added.

The 55-year-old has been a taxi driver with SMRT for four years, and also practised first aid with the St John Ambulance Brigade during his secondary school days. The background knowledge in first aid often helps him go above and beyond his call of duty to provide assistance to those in need, a spokesperson from SMRT said.

Another group reaching out to the community is our Home Team National Servicemen who have been deployed for house visits to disseminate SGSecure key messages since May 2016. Special Constable (NS) Vikneshwaran S/O Muneaswara Rastrapathi, who recently served as a Community Engagement Officer with Nanyang Neighbourhood Police Centre, said terror threats around the world this year have been worse than those in previous years, so there is a need for security efforts to be stepped up.

Through house visits conducted by these Home Team National Servicemen, residents are briefed on how to best protect themselves and help others during a terror attack.

“I think some of them are surprised that all this is going on, even though there was a poster on this initiative under the block,” he quipped.

However, the 30-year-old said young adults were more aware of the importance and key thrusts of SGSecure.

“The common topic that we share is that of terror attacks around the world. For instance, if I were to give one example of a terror attack, they would be able to cite multiple similar examples, which is good because it goes to show that they are keeping up with the news,” SC (NS) Vikneshwaran added.

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

  1. by Desmond Ang
  2. 29 September 2016
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