Clutter at Boon Lay HDB corridor obstructs paramedics responding to cardiac arrest case

Submitted by Stomper Ho

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Update on Jan 3, 2023:

SCDF hindered by clutter at Boon Lay corridor: Town council serves advisories to residents

Original article:

Clutter is not only a fire hazard, but can also hamper life-saving efforts in times of emergency, as witnessed by a Boon Lay resident recently.

Stomper Ho, who lives at Block 188 Boon Lay Drive, said the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) faced difficulties trying to reach an elderly resident on the 10th floor on Tuesday afternoon (Dec 27).

This is as the corridor was too cluttered for paramedics and their stretcher to pass through.

Ho, a Community First Responder (CFR), was alerted to the cardiac arrest case at around 12.30pm.

Ho recounted: "Upon getting the alert, I set my baking aside and rushed out. The paramedics and I arrived at the unit at almost the same time.

"I saw them struggling with the cluttered corridor. They had to put down their big paramedic bags and equipment to help clear the items. The stretcher could not pass through as well.

"Together, we moved the items by passing them to one another in order to clear a path.

"After 45 minutes, the paramedics left with the patient. Only then did the selfish neighbours responsible for the clutter come out to see what had happened.

"One woman started to quarrel with the Town Council officer and public rescuers. She shouted that we should have knocked on her door to inform her first before touching her things. She also said her next-door neighbour had placed more items than her and that she needed to put her shoe rack and child's bicycle outside.

"Putting less items than your neighbour doesn't make you better or right. Don't monkey see monkey do and 'kiasuly' put some more.

"I hope this woman never has to experience what her cardiac arrest neighbour just went through."

In response to a Stomp query, SCDF said it received a call for assistance at the block at around 12.20pm and conveyed a person to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.

Ho said that town council staff were still clearing the clutter hours after the incident. According to her, the items belongs to a few households.

"This is a rental block and it's been like that since they moved in, but they are getting from bad to worst," the Stomper added.

"I work very closely with the town council but most of our efforts are usually wasted. The town council has sent advisories, warnings and summonses but there is no point.

"These rental units think they have the priority and rights for being 'poor and needy'. They have easily gotten the summonses waived by queuing up at their Meet-The-People Session. They can even get FairPrice vouchers if they go with well-written scripts and good drama.

"When accidents happen to you, you demand kampong spirit. But when you are at fault, you shout loud loud and ask why we so kaypo!

"Their hoarding almost cost a life. I hope the cardiac arrest patient pulls through. If not, let's hope the four units can sleep in peace."

According to SCDF's fire safety guidelines, a minimum clear escape passage of 1.2m clearance is to be maintained along HDB corridors.

Photos taken by Ho show numerous bulky items such as storage boxes, bicycles, trolleys and an e-bike along the corridor. However, placement of these items are prohibited.

Stomp has contacted West Coast Town Council for more info.

View more images in the gallery.