In conjunction with Frasers Property’s Health and Safety month this August, the National Fire and Civil Emergency Preparedness Council (NFEC) and Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) were invited to conduct a dialogue session to raise the fire safety awareness of our staff and tenants from the retail and commercial sectors.
From left: Ms Margaret Heng, Mr John Woo, Captain Muhammad Izwan, and Captain Ong Kok Ping speaking to a crowd of 128 people
Held on 6 August, the session addressed the need to increase awareness of the importance of fire safety not only at work and but also at home. It also provided participants a platform to raise their concerns and questions on the issue.
The panel members included Ms Margaret Heng, Chairperson, NFEC Commercial Premises Committee, Mr John Woo, Vice-Chair, NFEC Commercial Premises Committee, Captain Muhammad Izwan, Fire safety & Shelter Department, SCDF and Captain Ong Kok Ping, Central Enforcement Department.
Captain Ong provided attendees insights into common fire safety non-compliance cases that he has encountered in his course of work
During his talk, Captain Ong shared that out of 14,537 checks conducted in 2018, almost 16.9% (2,462) of the recipients were issued a fire hazard abatement notice (FHANs), which serves as a warning. Another 16.8% (2,453) were given a notice of fire safety offence (NFSO).
The top three offences that result in a FHAN include unilluminated exit signage, obstruction to exit and fire engine access way, and non-maintenance of firefighting equipment. The most common cases whereby an NFSO is issued include the unauthorised change of the use of premises, unauthorised fire safety works and occupying a building without a valid fire certificate.
Captain Ong also took the opportunity to remind participants to implement good practices at their buildings, such as ensuring clear emergency access ways and avoiding overcrowding in the premises at all times.
Captain Izwan shared more about fire statistics and some case studies of ill-practices
According to Captain Izwan, awareness is key in preventing fire-related incidents. On the bright side, the situation does seem to be improving as he notes that the total number of fires SCDF has had to respond to has declined year-on-year.
He also shared an important message worth noting by the participants that are based in retail and commercial properties – the most common locations for fire incidents in non-residential properties are factories, eating establishments and markets, as well as shopping complexes and supermarkets. The causes for these fires are linked to electrical origins, overheating, and naked lights.
Mr Peh Cheng Guan, Head of Facilities, Frasers Tower participating in the dialogue session
Mr John Woo, Vice-Chair of the NFEC Commercial Premises Committee provided an interesting takeaway from the session. He shared that fire incidents tend to rise in the 4th quarter of every year due to increased usage of lighted decorations during the year-end festivities.
All in all, it was an informative dialogue session where participants learned how they can improve safety measures in their respective properties or shop space. As we come into the 4th quarter of the year, this sesson also serves as a good reminder for everyone to ensure that all decorative items are safe for use, and are installed in accordance with safety regulaions, be it at work or at home.