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A Better Way to Train, Come Rain or Shine
An innovative new way to display vital information helps Home Team Trainers conduct training more effectively.

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GRAPHIC: Home Team News

“One, and two, and three, and four!” – This cadence sounded as a group of Singapore Police Force (SPF) Trainees ran onto the running track at the Home Team Academy (HTA). After a brief shower in the early afternoon, the skies had cleared and a light breeze was blowing – perfect weather for the Physical Training sessions to follow. 

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SPF Trainees undergoing a late-afternoon training session at HTA. PHOTOS: Vivian Moh

Whatever the weather conditions, Trainees at HTA can be assured that their safety will be well-regarded. This is possible due to a large display panel positioned above the stands at HTA's running track – the Wet Bulb Globe Temperature (WBGT) Display Panel.

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The WBGT Display Panel provides “live” information needed to assess the Work-Rest Cycle to Trainers at HTA’s running track.

Towards a Safer Way to Train
To ensure training safety and minimise heat injuries, HTA has incorporated the Work-Rest Cycle into its strenuous Physical Training sessions. A timely and accurate WBGT reading is critical to calculating the Work-Rest Cycle, offering guidance as to whether training activities should be modified to prevent heat injuries. 

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Accurate WBGT readings allow Trainers to modify training activities in order to prevent heat injuries.

Previously, HTA Trainers could either refer to the WBGT website of the National Environment Agency (NEA) or use a handheld device known as the Portable Heat Stress Tracker to check WBGT. HTA sought a more complete solution to monitoring WBGT, one that would offer Trainers quick access to WBGT readings. Leading this effort were Superintendent (SUPT) Brian Lin, Mr Aliff Hurairah and Mr Chua Ban Joo of HTA’s Training Safety & Audit Branch. 

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Seeking a better way (from left): SUPT Brian Lin, Mr Aliff Hurairah and Mr Chua Ban Joo constantly seek and review feedback from Trainers to improve the training process.

“We’re constantly seeking feedback from our Trainers about how we can help them improve their training processes,” said SUPT Brian. “One issue they had with using the Portable Heat Stress Tracker was that it requires an acclimatisation period before readings can be taken. We noted their feedback, performed our own audits and then set out to create the fastest and most convenient method for Trainers to monitor WBGT.”

Close to Home
To help Trainers monitor WGBT readings at a glance, the team hit upon the idea of displaying the readings on a large display panel at HTA’s running track. But this concept was unprecedented, and there were no benchmarks or best practices for the team to refer to. Every aspect of the project had to be considered and designed from scratch. 

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The weather station at HTA provides WGBT data that's relayed to the WBGT Display Panel.

Unfazed by the lack of off-the-shelf resources, SUPT Brian and his team explored technologies that were close at hand and which could be adapted to serve their needs. This led them to incorporate WBGT data from the weather station situated on HTA grounds. 

Throughout the process, the team drew strength from their fellow officers. “As we were trying to resolve the different issues, it was the encouragement of the Trainers that kept us going,” shared SUPT Brian.

Going “Live” 
In May 2019, the team launched the WBGT Display Panel to provide “live” WBGT readings that are obtained directly from HTA’s weather station. “What we’ve done is to innovate the process of delivering WBGT readings to Trainers,” said SUPT Brian. “Whether they are on the track or training field, they can just look up at the Panel to check if they need to modify their training activities.” 

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HTA Trainers can refer to the WBGT Display Panel to check if they need to modify physical training activities.

The WBGT Display Panel has an automatic, 10-minute refresh interval that offers timely updates to Trainers (and which, in fact, bests prevailing training safety standards that advise Trainers to monitor WBGT at hourly intervals). Furthermore, readings from the Panel improve on those from a Portable Heat Stress Tracker as they are obtained directly from NEA, and are more accurate. Panel readings are also not subject to potential user or device errors associated with the Portable Heat Stress Tracker.

Innovation in Action
The WBGT Display Panel demonstrates HTA’s ongoing pursuit of training safety excellence for Home Team Trainees. This commitment was validated in January 2020 when HTA received the ISO45001 certification for training safety and facilities. 

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SUPT Brian Lin with the WBGT Display Panel.

In October, SUPT Brian and his team were also recognised for their efforts when they received the Home Team Innovation Award. “There’s no limit to how we can innovate,” he said. “There were only three of us on the project team, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make a huge impact.” 

As he watched another group of Trainees take to the track, SUPT Brian had this to share: “By using the Panel, Trainers can help Trainees complete their physical activities in a better state. It’s all about training more effectively and safely.”

Minister’s Awards Presentation Ceremony 2020
The Ministry of Home Affairs Minister’s Awards Presentation Ceremony was held on 30 October 2020 to recognise outstanding officers, teams and agencies that had demonstrated efficiency and competency in major operations, cases and projects, or displayed high standards of innovation and service excellence in the course of their work. 

This year, awards were given out in four categories: 
- Minister for Home Affairs Home Team Achievement Award: Recognises teams which have achieved exceptional outcomes through inter-agency collaboration, contributing significantly towards keeping Singapore safe and secure. 
- Minister for Home Affairs Operational Excellence Award: Recognises teams for outstanding competency and operational excellence in major operations and cases. 
- Star Service Award: Recognises Home Team officers who delivered outstanding service and exceeded customers’ expectations. 
- Home Team Innovation Award: Recognises exceptional Home Team officers in the area of innovation. 

Congratulations to our Home Team Award recipients! 

- Read the Opening Speech by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affair and Minister for Law, at the Minister's Awards Presentation Ceremony
© 2019 Ministry of Home Affairs, Singapore. All Rights Reserved.

  1. by Vivian Moh
  2. 16 November 2020
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