SCDF Workplan Seminar 2023 – Speech by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law

Published: 31 July 2023

MOS Faishal

Commissioner Eric

Colleagues and Partners

Ladies and Gentlemen


1. Good afternoon. 

2. Our fire fatality rate remains one of the lowest in the world, and is consistently among the lowest three.

3. And if you look at public perception, SCDF continues to rank very highly. In the Home Team Public Perception Survey 2022, more than 94% of respondents gave SCDF a score of at least 4 on a 5-point scale, for its performance in firefighting and rescue, as well as in managing medical emergencies. 

4. As an organisation, in 2022, SCDF was given the Business Transformation Award at the Public Service Transformation Awards Ceremony, for transforming its services to be more citizen-centric, more responsive, and more effective in terms of how it uses its resources. It also got the Pro-Enterprise Initiative Gold Award from the Ministry of Trade and Industry and the Singapore Business Federation, for its efforts in streamlining regulations to promote Electric Vehicle adoption in Singapore.  

5. These achievements, and the safe environment we live in – all these and more –  were made possible by the work of SCDF officers, and the huge number of partners who support SCDF. 

A World-Leading Life-Saving Force

6. Today, I will touch on two areas that SCDF continues to focus on. First, on facilities and technology. Second, bringing the community together to work with SCDF.

Facilities and Technology

7. In terms of facilities and technology, SCDF continues to invest in world-class facilities to better prepare our officers for the challenges on the frontline. 

8. At last year’s Workplan Seminar, SCDF introduced the Emergency Responders’ Fitness Conditioning and Enhancement Lab (EXCEL) as part of Phase One of the redevelopment of the Civil Defence Academy. It allows us to analyse the physiological and cognitive data of officers during training, and it allows us to develop customised training programmes for officers. 

9. As part of Phase Two, SCDF has set up three new facilities. 

10. First, a new, mixed-use training set-up, with mock-ups of our urban environment, including a bus interchange and a shopping mall. 

11. This will allow for more realistic firefighting and rescue training. 

12. It will let the officers train with structures that may be more common in future – for example, fires from solar panels. 

13. Second, a new National Emergency Medical Services training centre. 

14. This is built to mimic or mirror the full pre-hospital care process from the incident site all the way to the hospital. 

15. It will also use Mixed Reality technology to simulate actual incident environments.

16. And third, a new Fire Research Centre. 

17. It will have advanced equipment, it will allow us to run fire tests, like measuring the time taken for fires to spread across rooms with walls of different materials, or we could also use it to measure the effectiveness of novel fire extinguishment agents.

18. This will help SCDF improve its firefighting techniques. 

19. These three new facilities will be officially opened today. 

20. In terms of technology, SCDF has also continued to make use of the latest technologies in its operations, like unmanned vehicles and unmanned aircraft systems in firefighting operations.

21. I spoke about this in April at the SCDF garden reception.  

22. SCDF has also started to deploy sensors to provide early warning of hazardous materials (HazMats). 

23. HazMats may be colourless and odourless, and these sensors are going to allow SCDF to be alerted to them even before they are detected by the general public.

24. 12 units of the new HazMat sensors have been deployed this year, and we are going to continue to deploy more of these sensors for islandwide coverage.

25. SCDF will also commission the HazMat Incident Management System (HIMS2) by the end of this year. 

26. The system will be able to integrate data from its own sensors as well as  sensors of other agencies that are relevant, like the National Environment Agency, and that can give  a far more comprehensive HazMat detection picture and enable better coordination in incident response.

Strengthening Partnership 

27. The second area is partnership with the community. SCDF will continue to strengthen its partnership with the community, towards its vision of a Nation of Lifesavers. 

28. The community plays an important and active role in saving lives.

29. In emergencies, in the few critical minutes before SCDF officers arrive, any intervention, any assistance, can make a big difference – sometimes, the difference between life and death. 

30. Today, we have more than 140,000 Community First Responders (CFRs), who are able to render assistance in emergencies.

31. From 2018 to April of this year, our CFRs responded to more than 7,000 cardiac arrest cases and more than 5,000 fires.

32. We are going to try and make our programmes even more accessible to the public, to encourage more people to pick up lifesaving skills and play a part during emergencies. 

33. For example, the Community Emergency Preparedness Programme (CEPP) was launched in 2016, which now has more than 170,000 participants who have taken part to pick up lifesaving skills. 

34. We will streamline this CEPP from its current three parts into a two-part programme called the Responders Plus Programme (RPP).  

35. The first component will be online, so that participants can pick up the skills at their own time, at their own convenience.

36. The second component will be in-person, hands-on, but it will be shortened from 8 hours to 4 hours, so that more people will be encouraged to take part in it. 

37. There will be more emphasis on key skills that can be applied in most emergencies, like Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR), using the Automated External Defibrillator (AED) and using fire extinguishers. Essentially, helping participants get the key lifesaving skills in a shorter period of time. 

38. SCDF will also redesign its fire posts to introduce Lifesavers’ Connect Zones.

39. These Zones will have interactive booths for people to either pick up, or refresh, their lifesaving skills, such as CPR and First Aid. 

40. The first Lifesavers’ Connect Zone will open at Joo Seng Fire Post, by September this year, and then it will be rolled out to other fire posts. 


41. SCDF has made significant progress towards being a world-leading life-saving force, 

42. And Singapore is one of the safest places in the world in the context of civil and medical emergencies. 

43. A big thank you to all SCDF officers for your hard work and your dedication. 

44. And thank you to our partners and volunteers, for your continued trust and support.

45. I wish everyone a fruitful workplan seminar. Thank you.