Singapore Civil Defence Force



The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) is a uniformed organisation that provides emergency services to the nation both during peacetime and under crisis. It serves not only as a fire-fighting authority, but also provides first-aid and rescue services, and acts as an educator on fire safety procedures.1

History
The SCDF was formed with the launch of the National Civil Defence Plan in 1982, and originally operated under the Singapore Police Force.2 Following the enactment of the Civil Defence Act in 1986, the SCDF became an independent organisation under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).3 After the Hotel New World disaster in 1986 and the Pulau Merlimau oil rig fires in 1988, the MHA merged SCDF with the Singapore Fire Service on 15 April 1989 in order to streamline rescue services.4

Achievements
The SCDF organises emergency preparedness programmes and disaster management activities, which are governed by three main laws, namely the Civil Defence Act of 1986, the Fire Safety Act of 1993 and the Civil Defence Shelter Act of 1997.5 The Force’s role during peacetime is the provision of emergency services, such as fire-fighting, rescue and ambulance services.6 In addition, SCDF builds up and maintains its operational capability and readiness; strives to increase public awareness and participation in civil defence activities; and formulates and enforces regulations on fire safety and civil defence shelter matters.7 It also maintains an on-going programme with Asia-Pacific and European countries to exchange views and experiences on emergency preparedness and disaster management, and participates in rescue operations in the region.8

The SCDF has established a three-tier hierarchical structure comprising HQ SCDF, four territorial SCDF divisions, SCDF Marine Command and the ground units, namely the fire stations or fire posts.9 The Force is made up of regular officers, full-time National Servicemen and Operationally Ready National Servicemen.10

In June 2001, the Mountbatten Fire Post in Kallang became Singapore’s first fire post. The fire post, equipped with an ambulance and a light fire-attack vehicle, is part of a plan aimed at cutting response time to emergency calls.11 The United Nations World Fire Statistics Centre ranked Singapore top for fire-safety in 2001.12

In December 2001, SCDF opened a Civil Defence Heritage Gallery at the Central Fire Station on Hill Street. The gallery traces the history of SCDF, including the fire-fighting and civil defence developments in Singapore from the late 1800s to the present day.13



Author

Joycelyn Hwang



References
1. Chong, C. K. (2002, February 6). Arson incidents cost $1m last yearThe Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singapore Civil Defence Force. (1985). Civil defence in Singapore 1939–1985. Singapore: Author, p. 61. (Call no.: RSING 363.35095957 CIV)
2. Singapore Civil Defence Force. (1985). Civil defence in Singapore 1939–1985. Singapore: Author, p. 61. (Call no.: RSING 363.35095957 CIV); Hon, J. (1988). 100 years of the Singapore Fire Service. Singapore: Times Books International, p. 16. (Call no.: RSING 363.378095957 HON)
3. Refinery fire: 5 firemen praised. (1988, October 29). The Straits Times, p. 1. Retrieved from NewspaperSG; Singapore Civil Defence Force. (2014, May 27). About us. Retrieved 2016, October 7 from Singapore Civil Defence Force website: https://www.scdf.gov.sg/content/scdf_internet/en/general/about-us.html
4. Miller, D. (2001). In safe hands: The story of the Singapore Civil Defence Force 1989–2000. Singapore: Singapore Civil Defence Force, pp. 7, 52. (Call no.: RSING q363.35095957 MIL); Singapore Civil Defence Force. (2014, May 27). About us. Retrieved 2016, October 7 from Singapore Civil Defence Force website: https://www.scdf.gov.sg/content/scdf_internet/en/general/about-us.html
5. Miller, D. (2001). In safe hands: The story of the Singapore Civil Defence Force 1989–2000. Singapore: Singapore Civil Defence Force, pp. 18–21, 68. (Call no.: RSING q363.35095957 MIL); The full force of civil defence. (1986, September 23). The Business Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
6. Singapore Civil Defence Force. (1985). Civil defence in Singapore 1939–1985. Singapore: Author, p. 61. (Call no.: RSING 363.35095957 CIV)
7. Miller, D. (2001). In safe hands: The story of the Singapore Civil Defence Force 1989–2000. Singapore: Singapore Civil Defence Force, p. 15. (Call no.: RSING q363.35095957 MIL); Singapore Civil Defence Force. (2016, January 25). Roles & functions. Retrieved 2016, October 7 from Singapore Civil Defence Force website: https://www.scdf.gov.sg/content/scdf_internet/en/general/about-us/roles-functions.html
8. Singapore Civil Defence Force. (2016, January 25). International cooperation. Retrieved 2016, October 7 from Singapore Civil Defence Force website: https://www.scdf.gov.sg/content/scdf_internet/en/general/about-us/organisation_structure/international-cooperation.html
9. Singapore Civil Defence Force. (2011, September 26). Organisation structure. Retrieved 2016, October 7 from Singapore Civil Defence Force website: https://www.scdf.gov.sg/content/scdf_internet/en/general/about-us/organisation_structure.html
10. Singapore Civil Defence Force. (2016, March 9). Our people. Retrieved 2016, October 7 from Singapore Civil Defence Force website: https://www.scdf.gov.sg/content/scdf_internet/en/general/about-us/organisation_structure/our-people.html
11. Vijayan, K. C. (2001, June 4). Singapore’s first fire post opens in Kallang. The Straits Times, p. 3. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
12. Chong, C. K. (2002, February 6). Arson incidents cost $1m last yearThe Straits Times, p. 27. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.
13. Chong, C. K. (2001, December 2). Fire King comes back to life in SCDF GalleryThe Straits Times, p. 29. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.



Further resources

Lee, J. (1998, September 15). Remembering the history of the fire service. The Straits Times, p. 28. Retrieved from NewspaperSG.

Saud Aqel Alattas, et al. (2010). Building a legacy: Central Fire Station crosses the century mark, 1909–2009. Singapore: Singapore Civil Defence Force.
(Call no.: RSING 363.378095957 BUI)

Singapore Civil Defence Force. (2015). The heart of SCDF: Pride and care book 2015. Singapore: Author.
(Call no.: RSING 363.35095957 HEA)



The information in this article is valid as at 2002 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

 

Subject
Law and government>>Security>>Civil defence
National defence
Politics and Government>>National Security>>Defence
Fire departments--Singapore
Civil defense--Singapore