Oral Replies to Parliamentary Questions

Oral Reply to Parliamentary Questions on Whether the Installation of Home Fire Alarm Devices for all HDB Public Rental Flats has been Completed

Published: 12 September 2022


Miss Rachel Ong: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) whether the installation of Home Fire Alarm Devices (HFAD) for all HDB public rental flats has been completed in 2021; (b) if not, what percentage of flats remain to be fitted with such devices and when will the installations be completed; and (c) whether the Ministry will consider installing HFADs for HDB two-room flexi flats owned by seniors.

Miss Rachel Ong: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs whether the Ministry will consider (i) placing fire extinguishers along the common corridor of specified floors for each HDB block (ii) rolling out educational programmes to instruct residents on the locations and appropriate deployment of these fire extinguishers and fire hose reels in the common areas and (iii) forming a partnership with Resident Committees or Town Councils for the maintenance of the fire extinguishers in their community.

Miss Foo Mee Har: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) whether the Government will review the fire safety standards of HDB blocks and flats to better mitigate the spread in the event of a fire; and (b) whether the policy on installation of fire-rated doors can be reviewed to allow more pervasive use of such doors.

Mr Zhulkarnain Abdul Rahim: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) whether there is any update on the free installation of Home Fire Alarm Devices in public rental flats; and (b) whether the Ministry will consider extending such installations to all lower-income households or households with at least one elderly person aged 60 years and above.


Assoc Prof Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development:

1.   Mr Speaker, I will address Oral Questions Number 23, 24, 25 and 26.

2.   The Home Fire Alarm Device (HFAD) Assistance Scheme, which provided for free installation of HFADs for all HDB public rental flats on a non-mandatory basis, was completed in June 2021. The take-up rate as of the completion of the initiative was 75%. HDB will progressively install HFADs in the remaining 25% of public rental flats when their tenants’ leases end.

3.   The number of fires in HDB estates continues to decrease annually, and the fire fatality rate remains low. MHA does not currently intend to expand the HFAD Assistance Scheme.

4.   Under the Fire Code, every residential unit is designed as a fire compartment to prevent the spread of fire beyond or into the unit. The Fire Code currently requires fire-rated entrance doors for residential units, except where the residential unit faces an external corridor, as such corridors have been assessed to sufficiently facilitate heat and smoke dissipation. Other fire safety requirements for residential buildings include the provision of adequate exit staircases to facilitate swift evacuation of occupants, fire engine access roads and rising mains to facilitate fire-fighting operations.

5.   SCDF regularly reviews the Fire Code together with stakeholders from other Government agencies, industry, and academia. An example of an enhancement would be a requirement for new residential buildings exceeding 24m in habitable height to be provided with an apron wall or horizontal ledge on the building façade to minimise risk of vertical fire spread.

6.   SCDF is embarking on a trial with HDB, Town Councils and Temasek Foundation to place and maintain one fire extinguisher at a lift lobby of every two HDB blocks for use by residents during fire emergencies.

7.   SCDF has been educating residents on the use of the fire extinguisher through public engagement programmes such as the Community Emergency Preparedness Programme and Community Resilience Days. Through these platforms, SCDF encourages residents to install fire extinguishers in their premises on a voluntary basis and also shares information on the locations where hosereels can be found in the common areas.