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Published: 14 Apr 2011 10:00AM (Singapore)
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Harnessing technology to save lives
Whether it is mechanising CPR or enhancing its gear to deal with emergencies better, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) is constantly innovating to enhance their operations. They showcase some of these projects at the SCDF Workplan 2011.
By Tan Yi Wen

Imagine being in a moving vehicle and trying to give a patient chest compressions with consistent pressure.

Not so easy?

The Singapore Civil Defence Force’s (SCDF) paramedics have had to do so while rushing patients to hospital in an ambulance.

So they will be enhancing their operations with the help of a Mechanical Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) machine.

With the device, a person suffering from cardiac arrest or who has stopped breathing will be given consistent chest compressions for prolonged periods.

This enhances the survivability of patients with cardiac arrest.

Chief Paramedic Senior Warrant Officer 2 (SWO2) Low Kok Leon said CPR has to be done at a consistent rate and may be challenging when conducted for prolonged periods.

"With this mechanical device, we are able to get very good CPR at a consistent rate," said SWO2 Low who trains SCDF paramedics to use the Mechanical CPR machine.

These machines can also be used on persons who are seated while being transported in confined spaces such as lifts, in which manual CPR is difficult to do.

Come June 2011, the machines will be carried in 14 SCDF ambulances for an initial implementation phase.

The Mechanical CPR is one of SCDF's innovative projects highlighted at the SCDF Workplan 2011 seminar held at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College East on 8 April 2011.

Guest of Honour, Mr Masagos Zulkifi, has a shot at firing the new CAF equipment. The portable fire extinguishing system, which stands for Compressed Air Foam, has compressed air added to the traditional foam system, which has been shown to be very effective in fighting apartment fires. PHOTO: Tan Yi Wen

Another innovation showcased was the Compressed Air Foam (CAF) system, which is equipped with special nozzles that make use of compressed air to generate fine foam droplets to help extinguish fires more effectively.

The Compresses Air Foam (CAF) system being showcased at the SCDF Workplan 2011 exhibition. PHOTO: Tan Yi Wen

The CAF system is able to extinguish fires about four times faster and uses 70% less water.

The use of innovative technologies to enhance SCDF's operational capabilities is welcomed by Guest-of-Honour Minister of State for Home Affairs and Education Masagos Zulkifli.

He said: “As our landscape is always changing, SCDF must continue to explore technological innovations, leveraging on state-of-the-art technology to adapt to new operating conditions.”

In his address at the workplan seminar, SCDF Commissioner Peter Lim said: “We will adapt and change, to make SCDF relevant, and to serve the public better.”

To serve the public better, the SCDF will introduce a new service where members of the public will be able to make 995 emergency calls for ambulances and fire engines via Short Message Service (SMS), Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) and 3G video.

This service is made possible by SCDF’s new Command, Control and Communication System known as ACES which will also have the latest traffic condition to guide the SCDF’s emergency vehicles on the fastest route to the incident scene.

The Multi-Utility Vehicle on display at the SCDF Workplan exhibition. PHOTO: Tan Yi Wen

The workplan exhibition also saw the Multi-Utility Vehicle (MUV) on display.

Developed by the SCDF, the vehicle can be loaded with different operational modules depending on the type of emergency response needed.

For example, if there is a flash flood, the MUV can be fitted with a flood response module.

In the event of a fire, the MUV can be loaded with a water supply module to support fire fighting operations.

In tandem with SCDF Workplan’s 2011 theme “Together, A Future Ready Force”, the force continues to work closely with the community to deal with emergencies.

One such initiative is the CD Ready Homes Programme, where residents are given a checklist to assess their emergency preparedness and take ownership of their community.

The checklist includes having first aid kits, fire extinguishers in households, having a bag of essential items for emergencies and participating in Community Emergency Prepardness Programmes (CEPP) organized by the SCDF.

The programme was launched by the Minister of State, SCDF Commissioner Peter Lim and corporate sponsors of the programme during the workplan seminar.

Mr Masagos said: “If many of our households are emergency-ready, should any emergency happen to our nation, these households will stand ready to react appropriately.” 

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