Pump wells at fire stations to be sealed
This is part of measures taken by SCDF to eliminate ragging after NSF's drowning
All 19 pump wells at the Singapore Civil Defence Force's (SCDF's) 21 fire stations will be decommissioned by the end of the year.
This was one of several new measures aimed at eradicating ragging within its ranks, SCDF announced yesterday.
SCDF had previously said that it would install metal grating across the opening of fire station pump wells and lock them.
The wells, which are used to test the pumps of fire engines and for training, will now be filled up with granite chips and covered with concrete slabs instead. This is expected to be completed in December.
SCDF said decommissioning the pump wells will not affect operations.
The testing of fire engine water pumps and related training can be centralised and conducted at the Civil Defence Academy (CDA) at Jalan Bahar, which has three pump wells, it added.
This will be scheduled to coincide with regular training sessions at CDA.
SCDF said it will also be instituting a code of conduct to reinforce its zero-tolerance stance against ragging.
These new measures are in response to recommendations made by a Board of Inquiry (BOI), which was convened by Home Affairs Minister K. Shanmugam in May to investigate the circumstances surrounding the death of full-time national serviceman Kok Yuen Chin and look into ways to prevent similar incidents in future.
Sharing the BOI's key findings and proposals in a press release yesterday, the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said the board found that SCDF had clear anti-ragging policies and frameworks, such as anti-ragging briefing sessions for servicemen and posters at fire stations.
But the incident that led to Cpl Kok's drowning happened in spite of this, the BOI noted.
MHA said Mr Shanmugam has accepted all the BOI's recommendations in full, and the SCDF will be implementing the necessary follow-up actions.
Other measures include making SCDF's anti-ragging briefings for servicemen more interactive, and enhancing its disciplinary and whistle-blowing frameworks. Reporting channels will be available in all four official languages.
Long-serving officers not in formal command positions will also be enlisted as anti-ragging ambassadors in order to tap on their informal influence on the ground, SCDF added.
These build on previous measures introduced in May.
Officers involved in ragging or who fail to stop or report it face stiffer penalties now. Unit commanders are personally accountable for unauthorised activities in their units, and CCTV camera coverage has been expanded at SCDF premises.