SCDF Hazmat capabilities on standby for upcoming Asean Summit

SINGAPORE – The threat of chemical, biological and radiological attacks is a key focus for the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) in its security preparations for the upcoming Asean Summit being held here from Nov 13 to 15.

Its suite of Hazmat vehicles, including the Hazmat Mitigation Vehicle, the Mass Decontamination Vehicle and the Hazmat Control Vehicle (HCV), will be on standby at various strategic locations around Suntec Singapore International Convention and Exhibition Centre to respond to any mass casualty or chemical agent incidents.

The HCV was launched in April this year, and comes equipped with drones that help SCDF officers detect, identify and monitor hazardous substances during a chemical incident.

The vehicle has advanced detection and analytical equipment on board to assess and identify hazardous substances and is vital to make sense of relevant information to steer decision making on the ground.

It also incorporates mobile transporters which allows Hazmat specialists to cover a wide area more efficiently.

Speaking to media on Monday (Nov 05) during a preview of SCDF’s Hazmat operations, director of operations, Assistant Commissioner Daniel Seet, said preparations for the Asean Summit will come close to that of the Trump-Kim Summit held in June.

This is because both involve extensive operations spanning a number of days.

Said AC Seet: “Because of the several standbys we have done this year, we have been maintaining a very high key state of readiness. So there will be no let up on this.”

United States President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held a historic meeting on Singapore’s tourist island Sentosa on June 12, which saw 7,000 personnel from the Home Team and the Singapore Armed Forces involved.

Similar to the Trump-Kim summit, the vicinity around Suntec has been declared an “enhanced security special event area” by the police on Monday for the Asean Summit, and people and vehicles entering the area for the duration of the summit will undergo strict security checks and measures.

The SCDF will have 150 officers – comprising regulars and full-time national servicemen- and 20 emergency vehicles on standby for the event.

However, one unique challenge for security forces in this operation will be preparing and laying the ground for contingencies, while also allowing business to go on as per usual for the rest of the Suntec area, said AC Seet.

For this, they have actively engaged mall operators to work together so authorities can deploy personnel and provide security cover without disrupting daily operations of the mall.

AC Seet said that SCDF works closely with the Ministry of Home Affairs and intelligence agencies to provide threat assessments for events such as the Asean Summit.

“While we have not received any specific threats, these are the range of capabilities that the SCDF will be maintaining in the event of a contingency,” said AC Seet.

“We won’t take anything lightly.”

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