SINGAPORE: The total number of calls to the Singapore Civil Defence Force’s (SCDF) Emergency Ambulance Service rose by over 8 per cent — from 131,806 cases in 2011 to 142,549 cases in 2012.
Emergency calls rose 9 per cent from 125,966 cases in 2011 to 137,341 cases in 2012. SCDF said the increase reflects the growing demand for ambulance services from an ageing population.
The data was released in SCDF’s annual Fire, Ambulance and Enforcement Statistics.
For emergency calls, SCDF said there was an increase of almost 11.8 per cent of medical emergency cases from 89,944 cases in 2011 to 100,541 cases in 2012.
SCDF saw a significant drop of over 25 per cent in the number of non—emergency calls received — 2,232 cases in 2012 compared to 2,995 cases in 2011. SCDF attributes this reduction to the higher level of public awareness about the misuse of the Emergency Ambulance Services.
On the fire incidents and fire safety enforcement front, SCDF responded to a total of 4,485 fires in 2012 — a marginal increase of 0.3 per cent from the 4,470 fires in 2011. Of the 4,485 fires, 46 per cent involved rubbish and discarded items in residential premises.
SCDF said fires involving discarded items especially at common areas in HDB estates remains a concern.
These fires form the second biggest component of residential fires, accounting for almost a quarter of the total number of residential fires in 2012.
Last year, 18 people were injured in fires that involved discarded items.
So SCDF will step up public education on the dangers of discarding items at common areas in HDB estates.
The main cause of fires is what is termed as "dropped light". This refers to the indiscriminate disposal of lighted materials like lighted cigarette butts that were not completely extinguished, embers from charcoal, lighted incense sticks and matchsticks.
Last year, over 53 per cent of 4,485 cases of fires were caused by "dropped light".
Assistant director of the Operations Department at SCDF, LTC G Gobiselven, said: "Such fires can be big in nature. And being so near to residential units, in fact, there were 18 casualties arising from such fire incidents last year.
"To tackle the problem, the SCDF and its partners have recently launched a campaign to increase public awareness on the dangers of leaving discarded items at the common areas of residential premises. This includes fire safety radio messages and stickers with pictorial fire safety advisory on the lift doors of HDB flats."
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