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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

Evening finds

When evening comes
We wheel our trikes
Out to the grass and on to gravel
There’s much to find
Eyes sharp and bright
We set our feet with all our might to pedal

Copyright –

Kids Say: Hand a map to the kids…

…and be prepared to be directed all over the place!

We took advantage of the Singapore National Day holiday to visit the zoo. Except recently, in a effort to encourage DD to read, we handed her the map and asked her to direct the family’s route around the zoo.  Between her and her brother, that sure led to some comical outcomes.


“Hey kids, look at the orang utan!  He’s going to climb up the vine.”

“But I want to see the snakes.”

“How about we go see the snakes after this?”

“Hmm…oops, well, maybe snakes after the zebras and giraffes.  Um, and lions.”

“Do you want to compare the jaguar and leopard?”

“No, I don’t want jaguar. I just want to see the snakes.”

“Do we have enough time to make it to the elephants show?”

“Fifteen minutes?  Grab lunch first?”

*after Elephants of Asia* 

“Mommy, I want to go to the carousel?”

“Um, carousel is kinda far away….”

“Mommy, can we go to the black monkey?” 

“But I want to go to the carousel.”

“That would mean going past elephants…for the third time…”

“How about the lemurs? Can we go and see the lemurs?”

“I’m so tired, let me just sit down here for awhile.  Pygmy hippos…look, kids, aren’t they cute?”

“That’s not a hippo…”


I think you catch my drift… (click here to view the roundabout figure eight route we took).

Countdown to Singapore’s National Day Parade 2011: Singapore, My Home

I’ve mentioned before in my travel posts that one of my most favourite and emotional moments of our holidays is when the airplane begins its descent, and the land and waters of Singapore come into view.

Night or day, the familiar landscape never fails to be – Inspiring. Magnificent. Unrivalled.

I can find no perfect words to describe my feelings, as the extended flaps of the airplane’s wings shudder with the force of the air being pushed through, the engines roar and the rubber finally hits the tarmac and brings us safely to the jet bridge.

Put really simply, I guess…I’m just really glad to be home. 🙂

This post is inspired by DD’s art work, which in turn, was inspired by the Singapore NDP 1998 song, “Home” written by Dick Lee and sung by Kit Chan. They’ve been learning the song in school.

In my world: Singapore, my city

Countdown to Singapore NDP 2011 Day 3 – This is not technically art and craft, but it is DS’s interpretation of our city state, using wooden blocks. 

Our little countdown series is aimed around setting the kids thinking about different aspects of their country and home, and representing that using the resources around them. Call it our mini home version of the National Education programme, ha! 🙂

I love how he has arranged the tall buildings and the road running through.  With the bridges and flyovers, and the structure positioned in that particular spot on the carpet, don’t you think it’s quite a close approximation to Singapore’s central business district?

He completed this just before bedtime, and after it was done, none of us were ready to tear it down to store the blocks back into their bag.  So we carefully moved the whole structure, block by block, to a corner in the room, so no one would accidentally knock it over in the dark.

And there it stayed till mid-morning. 😉


Sometimes in the middle of cleaning the rooms, I discover little gems left behind by the children. This Friday series was started with the intention of celebrating the imagination and creativity in a young child’s world…and hoping that it’ll bring a little ray of inspiration and joy to your day, as it does mine.

Countdown to Singapore’s National Day Parade 2011: Scene in Singapore

It’s day two of our NDP 2011 craft countdown.  Today, we’re working on a craft foam collage, leveraging preschooler scissor skills!

You will need the following materials: Craft foam, and coloured paper in various shades, scissors, white glue, artblock sheet.

I asked the kids to think about the Singapore landscape and what they remember of it. We looked at some photos we’d taken from a trip on the Singapore Flyer during the December school holidays last year, asked questions, and it took some time…but after a while, they started coming up with some ideas.

DD did a landscape – a forest (think Bukit Timah, Eng Neo Avenue…), cars on the  highway, an MRT train with ten wheels, a ship, the sea, the Singapore Flyer, and container handling gantry cranes at the Port of Singapore Tanjong Pagar terminal.

DS only wanted to create the sea, a ship and a single crane. 

The kids call these “giraffe cranes” and the port terminal “giraffe crane island”.  If you live in Singapore, hop on a bus or drive past any of PSAs port terminals, and keep a lookout for the quay cranes which have the boom lifted up in the air and you might see why!  😉 

If you’re an overseas reader, check out the PSA website and you’ll be able to see the mentioned cranes in the pictures on their website.  

There are a total of 190 cranes spread out over the five terminals at Keppel, Brani, Tanjong Pagar and Pasir Panjang, that’s a lot of opportunity for mechanical giraffe-spotting. 🙂

Countdown to Singapore’s National Day Parade 2011: Fireworks with Oil Pastels

In 6 days’ time, Singapore will celebrate its 46th National Day.  To commemorate the event, we’re kicking off a series of themed NDP crafts.  🙂

This first one is titled Fireworks.


Lately, we’ve introduced oil pastels as an art medium to the kids, and they’ve been having fun with it, particularly DD.  We looked up some pictures of the NDP fireworks on the internet (click here for the link), handed them the oil pastels, and off they went! 

You will need: Dark coloured cardstock, oil pastels (crayons work too, but oil pastel shades come out more vibrant).

After that was done, DD wanted to draw some more fireworks, so she got out some regular white paper. Father and daughter worked on their individual pieces.

 All done!