SINGAPORE – Paramedics responded to 339 fire incidents in residential premises between January and April this year, a 6.9 per cent decrease from the 364 in the same period in 2021.
Revealing these numbers on Sunday (May 22), the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) said it will continue to educate the public about fire prevention measures.
Despite fewer fires being reported this year, some recent incidents have led to deaths, such as the Bedok North flat fire that claimed three lives this month and another in March at New Upper Changi Road, in which a person died.
On Sunday, SCDF said that since last October, it has embarked on a programme to equip the public with first aid skills such as administering cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and using a fire extinguisher.
So far, about 1,200 people have participated in the programme, said SCDF.
After a fire takes place, SCDF conducts a post-fire public education blitz, going door to door to share fire safety educational materials with residents.
Last Friday, SCDF personnel visited Block 409 Bedok North Avenue 2 to distribute these materials. On May 13, a fatal fire occurred in the block.
When SCDF firefighters arrived at the flat that morning, they found a vast accumulation of combustible items. A 56-year-old woman found in the living room was pronounced dead, and three people were taken to hospital.
Two of the three – a toddler aged three and a 35-year-old man later died from their injuries. The toddler’s mother, 34, remains in hospital.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.
Another deadly fire occurred in March, claiming the life of one of nine people living in a three-room flat at Block 27 New Upper Changi Road.
Preliminary investigations by SCDF showed the fire had started from a personal mobility device (PMD) charging in the living room of the flat.
More recently, fires broke out in a Jalan Bukit Merah flat on May 17 and a Marsiling flat on May 14.
Mr John Wu, vice-chairman of the National Fire and Emergency Preparedness Council (NFEC), said: “The NFEC is deeply concerned about the recent spate of residential fires. Fire safety is everyone’s collective responsibility. Everyone can play a part in contributing towards a fire-safe environment.
“The NFEC’s housing premises committee will continue to work closely with SCDF and the town councils to raise awareness among more members of the public on fire safety at home.”
Since last November, the NFEC has engaged 2,294 new households on the importance of residential fire safety through roadshows for new homeowners.
Last year, the top three sources of fires were unattended cooking, followed by electrical fires and fires involving household contents like furniture.
For fires that result from unattended cooking, the public is advised to turn off the gas supply immediately and use a lid or wet cloth to cover the cookware, instead of pouring water into it.
To prevent such fires, the public should keep cooking appliances including stove tops and ovens clean and grease-free.
They should also not overload electrical outlets with appliances and to switch off appliances when they are not in use.
Last year, there were 32 fires involving PMDs and 23 involving power-assisted bicycles.
Owners of such devices are advised not to charge them overnight or for an extended period. They should also not be left to charge near combustible materials.
SCDF said more information on fire safety can be found on its website.