Published: 13 July 2015
Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs how does the Ministry ensure that homes in residential estates remain accessible to larger emergency vehicles such as fire engines and ambulances, especially homes situated on narrow roads that allow kerbside parking of vehicles.
Ms Sylvia Lim: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs (a) whether there is detailed area-based planning by SCDF to ensure that large emergency vehicles like fire engines and ambulances can gain physical access and egress when responding to emergencies in residential estates where roads may be narrow and not passable to large vehicles; and (b) whether SCDF emergency vehicles have encountered access difficulties in responding to calls in residential estates due to physical constraints such as narrow roads or obstruction from parked vehicles and, if so, what protocols exist to guide officers on overcoming these difficulties and to facilitate working with stakeholders to prevent a recurrence.
1. I will address Ms Sylvia Lim's two questions on emergency vehicles road access together.
2. Public roads in Singapore are designed according to strict standards to ensure that there is a minimum clearance for emergency vehicles to pass through. This minimum clearance requirement also applies to narrow roads, including those that allow kerbside vehicular parking, so that homes adjacent to such roads remain accessible to all emergency vehicles. The SCDF maintains a fleet of smaller, more maneuverable emergency vehicles such as the Light Fire Attack Vehicle, Class 3 Emergency Ambulances and Fire Bikes which could be deployed with ease on roads with narrow access ways.
3. The SCDF also conducts regular ground surveys to familiarise SCDF responders with the specific operational challenges of the geographical area covered by each fire station. As part of these surveys, the SCDF identifies areas with rampant illegal parking which could potentially impact its emergency vehicle access. The SCDF will notify LTA who will then undertake regular enforcement action against the illegally-parked vehicles in these areas to ensure that the access of emergency vehicles is not impeded. Errant vehicle owners may be fined or awarded demerit points to deter recurrent offences.
4. When there is obstruction of access in an emergency situation, the SCDF ground commander will assess the ground situation and consider alternative options to overcome the obstruction. The options include the deployment of the Light Fire Attack Vehicle and the Fire Bikes, which are dispatched together with the larger fire engines for emergencies in residential estates. The ground commander can also deploy fire-fighting equipment and SCDF officers on foot to the scene to support the smaller emergency vehicles which are already at scene. This will be done concurrently while the SCDF officers engage the building management or residents to remove the obstructing vehicles. The Fire Safety Act also empowers SCDF officers to forcibly remove any vehicle that is impeding its fire-fighting operation