The Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) conducted an enforcement operation and detected fire safety violations in two shopping malls and five public entertainment outlets on Dec 14.
During the inspection, some of the fire safety violations detected were the unauthorised change of use in parts of the premises, non-functioning exit lights and obstruction to common passageways and exit doors.
Violations like these pose fire risks and would impede the safe evacuation of people during an emergency.
SCDF said it takes fire safety violations seriously and will not hesitate to take tough enforcement actions against the offenders.
First-time offenders may be fined up to $5,000.
Recalcitrant and repeat offenders will be prosecuted in court.
If found liable for the offence, offenders can be fined up to $10,000 or jailed up to six months or both.
Major offences like commencement of fire safety works without plan approval carries a fine of up to $200,000 or jailed for up to 24 months, or both.
During this festive season, as the number of patrons and customers is usually higher, the SCDF would like to remind the owners and management of public buildings and places of recreation/entertainment including hotels and shopping centres, to ensure compliance to all fire safety requirements.
Escape passageways should be free of obstruction and fire exit doors should always be kept accessible for use during emergencies.
Overcrowding in public premises especially in entertainment outlets such as discotheques and pubs should be avoided as it would impede safe evacuation of fire.
The SCDF would like to extend its season's greetings and remind everyone to be fire safe during the festive period.
It urges members of the public who spot fire hazards to report them to the SCDF.
They can do so by calling its fire hazard reporting line at 1800 280 0000 or emailing SCDF_Fire_Safety_Feedback@scdf.gov.sg.
Members of the public can also submit photos and a brief description of hazards to the ‘mySCDF’ application for smartphones, which is also available for download on Apple and Android App stores.
SCDF said: "SCDF’s enforcement checks will continue throughout the festive season.
"Fire safety is a collective responsibility and together we can all help to reduce fire occurrences in Singapore."
Here are some ways you can help prevent fires:
- Never leave cooking unattended as it can result in fires. Turn off the gas supply and cooking appliances whenever they are not in use.
- Petrol, kerosene or flammable liquids should not be used to start a barbeque fire – they can flare up unexpectedly. Use solid fire-starters instead.
- Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose nearby in case of emergencies. Never leave the barbeque unattended.
- Charcoal should be doused with water and left to cool when cooking is done. Smouldering charcoal and embers should not be thrown into rubbish chutes/bins which may lead to rubbish fires.
- Never overload electrical outlets with electrical appliances. Always unplug the appliances when they are not in use.
- Do not run wires under carpets or mats and keep them away from hot surfaces.
- Check the condition of wires regularly. Frayed wires or cracked cords should be replaced or repaired by licensed electricians.
- Keep cooking appliances including the stove-top, cooker hoods and ovens clean and free from grease. Never store combustibles near heat sources.
- After parties or gatherings, check for smouldering cigarette butts around and under the sofa, chair cushions and carpets.
- Ensure that cigarettes and cigars are fully extinguished before disposal into the rubbish chutes/bins.
- Ensure that all unwanted furniture and items which are combustible in nature are discarded properly. Do not discard them at the common areas, such as lift lobby or staircase lobby, of your residential flats. Contact your local Town Council or Management Office if you require assistance for the disposal of unwanted bulky items. If you notice discarded item/s at the common areas, please alert your local Town Councils or Management Office.
Decorations and Lightings
- Check the decorative lighting fixtures for damage and defects before use and regularly thereafter for wear and tear. If blown bulbs and frayed wires are detected, replace them immediately with new ones.
- Do not leave decorative lighting fixtures, including lit Christmas trees, switched-on when leaving home or when going to bed. Lighting fixtures rated for indoor use should not be used in outdoor areas.
- Use decorative lighting fixtures which carry the SAFETY Mark. Similar to electrical appliances and accessories such as fans and adaptors, decorative lighting fixture is also a Controlled Goods under the Consumer Protection (Safety Requirements) Registration Scheme, which is administered by SPRING Singapore.
- Decorations made of light tissue paper or cardboard burn easily. Do not attach them to lights or other heat sources, and always keep them away from naked flames, such as lit candles.
- Lit candles should be placed in stable holders on a heat-resistant surface. Lit candles should also be kept away from combustibles such as Christmas trees, paper or cardboard decorations, dry foliage, curtains and furnishings.
Preventing Children from Starting Fires
- Keep matches, lighters and candles out of children’s reach.
- Educate children on the dangers of fires.
- Children playing with sparklers must be supervised by parents/adults.
- Sparklers should be kept in a closed box and away from flames.
- When being used, it should be lit at arm’s length and only one at a time.
- Lighted sparklers should never be thrown at combustible materials.
- When a sparkler goes out, do not immediately touch the hot end for it could still burn. Ideally, put the hot end in a bucket of water to fully cool it down before disposing of it safely.
- Follow the safety instructions as stated by the manufacturer. These instructions are typically found on the box housing the sparklers.
In commercial buildings
- Escape passageways should be free of obstruction and fire exit doors should be kept unlocked at all times for use during emergencies.
- It is also important to observe other fire safety requirements, including the approved occupancy load for premises (to avoid overcrowding), so as to enhance fire safety standards in buildings.
- If you are in any public premises, ensure that you look out for the nearest exit door or staircase. Such knowledge will greatly facilitate you when you need to evacuate during an emergency.
For more fire safety tips visit http://www.scdf.gov.sg/ and http://www.nfec.org.sg/firePg_fire_prevent.html.