Published: 02 October 2017
628. Ms Joan Pereira: To ask the Minister for Home Affairs (a) since 2015, what has been the average response time by the emergency services to road accidents involving injuries and fatalities; and (b) whether the Ministry will consider new systems, such as eCall which is an emergency call feature installed in all cars sold within the EU, to reduce the response time by automatically calling the nearest emergency centre.
1. Over the past three years, SCDF responded to road traffic accidents that required rescue operations (such as the extrication of trapped victims), within 8 minutes, 90.1% of the time. SCDF responded to other road traffic accidents that required ambulances to attend to injuries but did not require rescue operations, within 11 minutes, 84.6% of the time. These were within SCDF's target response times for rescue and ambulance calls respectively.
2. An eCall system involves the installation of an in-vehicle device, which will automatically contact and send its location to a helpline in the event of an accident. The eCall system can help to improve response time, but it also faces implementation challenges such as high false alarm rates. SCDF will continue to monitor the development of the eCall system as well as other technologies, and study their applicability to Singapore.
3. SCDF must always be ready to respond to emergencies promptly. False alarms, non-emergency and nuisance calls bog down SCDF's '995' call centre, impose additional load on SCDF's resources, and deprive persons in distress of timely intervention from SCDF. We urge members of the public to exercise civic responsibility and call '995' only when necessary.