SINGAPORE: The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) responded to 4,114 fire-related calls last year, a fall of 10.6 per cent compared to the 4,604 cases in 2015.
This is the lowest number of such calls SCDF has received annually since 1978, it said in its annual fire, ambulance and enforcement statistics report released on Friday (Feb 17).
Rubbish chute and bin fires remained the top reason for fires in homes, accounting for 1,444 cases - more than half the total number.
SCDF also noted an increase in the number of fires involving the batteries of electric bicycles and personal mobility devices, as well as power banks, from 16 cases in 2015 to 34 cases last year.
"These are preventable fires. With every rechargeable battery there is a recommended (length of) time (for charging). Charging overnight is not encouraged because there's a tendency to overcharge," said Assistant Commissioner Ling Young Ern, director of SCDF's operations department.
The number of fires at warehouses and factories decreased by 8.9 per cent, from 101 cases in 2015, to 92 cases in 2016.
However, the number of fires in shopping complexes increased by 25 per cent, from 48 cases in 2015 to 60 cases in 2016.
In total, there were 62 fire injuries last year, a decrease of 44.1 per cent from 2015. One person died in a fire in 2016, compared to seven fatalities in 2015.
CALLS FOR EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES UP
SCDF said it responded to 178,154 calls for emergency medical services (EMS) last year, a 7.4 per cent increase from 2015.
Emergency calls made up 89.4 per cent of the calls, with the number of calls involving the elderly remaining the highest among all age categories at 39.4 per cent.
SCDF added that it was concerned over the total number of non-emergency calls and false alarms calls in 2016, which made up 10.6 per cent of EMS calls.
"This works out to an average of about 50 such calls a day. SCDF's EMS resources in such cases would have been better deployed to cases involving casualties who require urgent medical attention," said SCDF.
FEWER FIRE SAFETY CHECKS CONDUCTED
SCDF conducted 15,291 fire safety checks last year, a decrease from the 16,165 checks in 2015.
The authorities issued 2,776 fire safety offence notices last year, a decrease of 25.9 per cent from 2015.
"The public plays an important role in reporting fire safety violations to the SCDF to ensure that the number of fire incidents in Singapore remains low," SCDF said.