14 PMD-related fire cases in 2016, up from one last year: SCDF

Safhras Khan
SCDF’s Assistant Commissioner Ling Young Ern, second from right, addressing the media along with, from left, Colonel Lian Wee Teck, Colonel Razak Raheem and Assistant Commissioner Yazid Abdullah. (Yahoo Singapore photo: Safhras Khan)

There has been an increase last year in the number of fires involving batteries of electric bicycles and personal mobility devices (PMDs), according to statistics revealed by the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF).

Fourteen cases involving PMDs were reported in 2016 as compared to only one case the year before.

As for electric bicycle-related fires, a total of 17 cases were reported last year as compared to 14 in 2015, said SCDF in a press conference on Friday (17 February).

SCDF’s operations department director, Assistant Commissioner Ling Young Ern, said that they hope the number of such cases won’t go up this year, especially with the increasing popularity of PMD devices, such as e-wheels and electric scooters, in Singapore.

The public needs to note that “care has to be taken when charging such devices,” he said.

Number of fire calls lowest since 1978

Meanwhile, the number of fire calls dipped to a 38-year low as the agency responded to 4,114 fire calls in 2016, a 10.6-percent decrease from 2015.

Ling pointed out that 68.5 per cent of the fires in 2016 concerned residential premises while 12.3 per cent dealt with non-residential premises.

“A lot of this could be attributed to our extensive and ongoing public education efforts; however we cannot be complacent and must continue to press forward,” he said.

The number of emergency medical services (EMS) calls increased in 2016. SCDF responded to 178,154 such calls, a 7.4-percent increase as compared to 2015.

Of the total number of calls, 89.4 per cent were emergency calls and 6.3 per cent were non-emergency calls. The remaining 4.3 per cent were false alarms.

SCDF added that 75.3 per cent of the 159,356 emergency calls were medically related, while 17.9 per cent were trauma cases. The remaining 6.8 per cent had to do with road traffic accidents.

The director of the medical department, Assistant Commissioner Yazid Abdullah, pointed out that an area of concern is the number of non-emergency and false alarm calls.

In 2016, 10.6 per cent of the calls made to EMS were non-emergency and false alarm calls.

“This worked out to an average of about 50 such calls a day. The SCDF’s EMS resources in such cases would have been better deployed to cases involving casualties requiring urgent medical attention,” he said.