SINGAPORE: The automatic fire detection system will be triggered to alert the station staff and the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) should a fire break out in the MRT train, said Minister for Home Affairs K Shanmugam on Tuesday (Feb 28).
Member of Parliament for Tampines GRC Desmond Choo tabled a question in Parliament on measures to handle arson attacks on MRT trains, after a man in Hong Kong set himself on fire in an MTR train at Tsim Sha Tsui earlier this month.
“Our Home Team departments and the public transport operators (PTOs) are prepared to deal with emergencies in MRT trains, including fires,” said Mr Shanmugam in a written Parliamentary reply.
The Home Affairs Minister added that there are established procedures to evacuate commuters to safety and to deal with different situations, regardless of whether the fire occurs when the train is at the station or on the tracks.
In the event of fire, the SCDF will extinguish it, rescue the injured and provide them with medical assistance while the police maintain law and order, Mr Shanmugam said.
Train floorings are also fire-resistant, and each train is equipped with fire and smoke detection systems as well as two fire extinguishers, LTA said, adding that the features are in line with international railway standards.
ARSON ATTACKS CALL FOR HEIGHTENED LEVEL OF VIGILANCE
Referring to the incident in Hong Kong, Mr Shanmugam said such arson attacks, whether the act of a criminal or a terrorist, call for a heightened level of vigilance and preparedness.
The Public Transport Security Command (TransCom) was formed in 2009 to conduct security patrols of Singapore's public transport system, including MRT trains and stations.
“TransCom officers are trained to look out for suspicious persons and approach them for further checks,” Mr Shanmugam said. “They are also the first line of response to any security incidents in the public transport system.”
The Home Team departments and PTOs also conduct regular exercises to validate and familiarise ground officers with emergency response protocols.
“The Home Team will continue to work with the PTOs to build on the current training and outreach initiatives, including conducting exercises that enhance their preparedness in the event of a terror attack,” said Mr Shanmugam.
One such example is Exercise Heartbeat, which was conducted in September last year at Bishan Bus Interchange and Junction 8 shopping mall.