More than 2,000 fires in residential areas so far this year
2,008 fires broke out on residential premises in first 10 months of the year
Equipping residents with the proper fire safety and prevention skills is the best defence against fires that may break out in their homes, often in places such as the rubbish chute and kitchen.
As part of public education efforts, MP for Pasir Ris-Punggol Sun Xueling went door-to-door last night to engage residents in her ward on fire safety and prevention.
In the first 10 months of this year, 2,008 fires broke out on residential premises across Singapore, with almost 50 per cent of them being rubbish chute fires.
As for the remaining incidents, they had to do with unattended cooking, discarded items and electrical items.
For the whole of last year, there were 2,657 fire incidents on residential premises, according to Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) statistics. The number of such fires in 2016 was 2,818.
In the past three months, two fires broke out in Housing Board flats in Punggol West, which is in Ms Sun's ward. While the fires did not result in any injuries, there was significant damage to the premises.
The first incident, on Sept 2, involved a personal mobility device that caught fire in the living room.
The second, which took place on Dec 3, happened while occupants of the unit were not at home.
Investigations showed that it started in a bedroom and was caused by lit joss sticks.
It was the need for public education efforts that prompted Ms Sun and various groups, including the SCDF and the Punggol West Community Emergency and Engagement Committee, to organise door-to-door visits so that they can distribute pamphlets with information on fire safety and safe evacuation.
While security agencies "stand ready" to rescue and take care of residents in times of need, emergencies can happen anytime, said Ms Sun, who is also Senior Parliamentary Secretary for Home Affairs and National Development.
"Our best defence is if our residents also know the skills to respond, to extricate themselves from danger, take active steps to protect themselves and also alert their neighbours," she said.
Rubbish chute fires remain the most common type of fire in residential areas.
Besides handing out pamphlets last night, Ms Sun also went through the steps with the residents of extinguishing a fire in the rubbish chute on their own by using, for example, a bucket of water.