“It won’t happen to me.” Some called it the safety myth while others termed it the “optimism bias” where one believes that we are excluded from potential negative effects, and disregard the reality of an overall situation. This mind-set has certainly settled in the majority of Singapore residents who believe that they are unlikely to encounter a fire in their homes, but is that really so? Then why is the Fire Code being implemented, with updated fire safety regulations that mandate new homes to install smoke detectors or Home Fire Alarm Detectors (HEADs) since June 2018? Existing homes which undergo fire safety works are also required to install them.
In 2019, the overall number of fire incidents in Singapore increased by 7.8% as compared to the previous year, out of which 1,168 fire incidents occurred in residential premises. According to Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), there were 142 fire injuries in 2019, an increase from 90 in 2018. More than half of them were smoke inhalation cases while the remaining had suffered burns. The majority of the fire injuries occurred in residential buildings. Although we have come a long way since the Bukit Ho Swee fire in 1961, it is important to acknowledge that accidents can happen when we least expected. Read on to find out what you can when a fire breaks out at/near home.
Note: Statistics featured in the infographics were taken from SCDF Fire, Ambulance, And Enforcement Statistics 2019.
In the event of a fire, the number one rule is to keep calm. Alert your neighbours and don’t forget to call 995. If you are staying in a super high-rise apartment or HDB flat, you should evacuate in an orderly manner to either a refuge floor or the safe ground. NEVER take the lift in the event of a fire, you should take the stairs instead.
For more information, refer to the Civil Defence Emergency Handbook.
Prevention is better than cure
In 2019, the top three types of fires in residential premises were related to unattended cooking, household contents and discarded items. By staying vigilant and careful, fire incidents can be avoided. Here are some simple housekeeping practices to keep in mind:
- Do not throw lighted materials such as burning embers and cigarette butts into the rubbish chute or rubbish bin.
- Do not leave cooking unattended; do switch off and unplug all cooking appliances when not in use.
Keep flammable liquids such as cooking oil and wine or combustible materials (e.g. paper and batteries) away from the stove.
- Do not overload electrical outlets and always switch off electrical appliances when not in use.
- Discarded items should be placed in designated areas; do not leave them at common areas such as lift lobbies, common corridors and staircase landings.
- More safety prevention tips are available at: Civil Defence Emergency Handbook
Here are things you should have in the event of a fire:
- A calm mind
- At least one PSB-approved Dry Chemical Power fire extinguisher weighing 1.5kg or more.
- An adequate home insurance that covers your building, home contents, and helps you to get back on your feet quickly in times of an emergency such as a fire.
Did you know that Tiq Home Insurance by Etiqa provides Emergency Cash Allowance of S$5000 within 24 hours in the event a fire rendered your home uninhabitable?
Tiq Home Insurance is a comprehensive home protection plan that offers assurance with flexibility to homeowners and tenants. Beyond your building, you can choose to protect renovation, home contents and things you love, only paying for what you need and nothing more. Find out more now!