Singapore

NSF’s app improves fire bikers’ response time to emergencies

Full-time national serviceman Hashir Zahir, 20, describes himself as a problem-solver. So when he noticed that the deployment of Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) fire bikers could be even faster, he decided to come up with an app to speed up their response times.

Fire bikers are often the first responders to emergencies. When activated, they have to set off within a minute, and they get an SMS with location details of the case.

Corporal Hashir felt it would be useful to have an app that can, using the location given, immediately pull up directions to the area in just two taps.

SCDF officers go through drills to memorise routes and areas around their fire station boundaries. So while most fire bikers know these routes by heart, the app has helped to shave seconds off their response times, something of great importance in a life-saving operation.

Cpl Hashir started his national service last July and was posted to Yishun Fire Station last November.

It was the first time Cpl Hashir, who is from the NUS High School of Math and Science, had developed an app. It took him 100 hours of research and about three weeks to come up with the first version in March.

"I did not tell anyone that I was working on the app. So when I finally told my commander and bosses about it, they were pleasantly surprised and said it really had potential," he said. "They wanted to make it official and by June gave clearance for it to be tested."

Cpl Hashir presented his app earlier this month at the SCDF's 3i Convention, an event to celebrate and encourage innovation within the force.

The app, into its fourth version and only for Android phones for now, has been on a pilot scheme at the 3rd Division fire stations in Yishun, Ang Mo Kio and Sengkang.

Since August, 40 fire bikers from the division have used the app. It is scheduled to be tested islandwide by the middle of next month, when about 180 fire bikers will use it. - TAN TAM MEI

COURT & CRIME