Field Trip: Singapore Firefighting

Last Saturday, we visited the Central Fire Station on Hill Street, with a group of friends from church.  And learnt some interesting facts about the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

SCDF is an agency under the purview of the Ministry of Home Affairs, in charge of the provision of fire fighting, rescue and emergency ambulance services, mitigation of hazardous materials incidents as well as the formulation and enforcement of fire safety and civil defence shelter regulations in Singapore.

Did you know…

What we generically call fire engine in layman terms, is referred to as PL in the SCDF fleet, which stands for Pumper Ladder. The pumper ladder is one of the vehicles most often deployed in a fire. It carries a wide range of equipment ranging from hoses, breathing apparatus and rescue equipment.

Photo credit: RT

Ambulances are the most widely deployed vehicle of SCDF. Each ambulance has a three digit number, identifying its geographical division, fire station number and ambulance number.  So for example, the ambulance in the picture below is Ambulance number 2, from Division 1, Fire Station 1 (that’s the Central Fire Station).

Private ambulances have a PA prefix in front of their three digit identification number.

Photo credit: RT

The personnel conducting the tour (unfortunately we didn’t get his name) is a volunteer Public Education Officer. He certainly took his responsibility very seriously, and provided our group a very informative and comprehensive walkthrough.

The Red Rhino, or also known as Light Fire Attack Vehicle (LFAV), is a uniquely Singaporean fire-fighting appliance. It is an all-terrain vehicle with a seating capacity of 4-5 firefighters, designed to traverse off roads to provide firefighting aid in densely built up areas which can’t be reached by the Pump Ladder.

It carries pretty much the same firefighting equipment as a PL, and has pumps as well, and a water tank capacity of 50 litres.  Additional water requirements are drawn off the fire hydrant network.

We called this the cherry picker. but its official name is Combined Platform-Ladder (CPL), which is essentially a Pumper Ladder with a hydraulic ladder platform which can be raised up to approximately 30 metres high for height rescue and high-rise building firefighting.

The personnel operating the CPL told us that they used to have an Aerial Ladder which could be raised up to 60 metres in height.  But it is no longer in use as it was only a structure with rescue cage with no pump.

Photo credit: HL

Check out the view from the top!  For the weekend open days to members of the public, they don’t extend the platform to its full height but just bring it up to about four stories high.  Shame…I mean, just imagine, how cool would it be to be up in the air 30 metres above the ground?! 😉

Photo credit: HL

The Central Fire Station is about a hundred years old and is the oldest existing fire station in Singapore. Back in the days when there were no mobile phones, the fire station was the tallest building in the area.

This watch tower served as a lookout, where an assigned personnel would keep watch and alert the firefighting team if he saw signs of a fire in the area.  Today, taller modern buildings dominate the skyline but this grand dame of red and white brick overshadows them all in her majestic architecture and rich history.

Photo credit: RT
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4 responses to “Field Trip: Singapore Firefighting”

  1. guest says :

    Is this tour only available on saturdays 9-11am? I heard this is so. Planning to go this sat with my son, please advise! 😀

    • iwonderbee says :

      Hi jomk
      Apologies for a late reply, had not logged on since Wednesday. Yes this tour is available on Saturdays, you can google “SCDF” for their website, which will provide more details as to which fire stations support this tour and the scope of the tours they offer (there are slight differences depending on the stations).

  2. guest says :

    Hi, were you able to go up the watch tower and take pix? looks like the view could be quite nice…

    • iwonderbee says :

      Hi gilbertwee,
      No we didn’t, I’m not sure that they open that up to the public, but would agree that the view could be nice and interesting to imagine what a firefighter in the days past could see from his post.
      Maybe since the station now offers the public the opportunity to go up in the Combined Platform Ladder, that would be a somewhat equivalent experience, at least in terms of the view.

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