According to the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF), there were 1,010 fires in residential properties last year, which is a 4.2% decrease from the previous year.
Even though the number of cases is declining, it is still one too many.
In fact, just this past Wednesday, 5 people were taken to the Singapore General Hospital after a fire broke out in an HDB flat in Bukit Merah. The cause of the fire is unknown and the SCDF is still investigating.
In 2021, there were 194 cases of fire injuries and 3 fire fatalities in fire incidents that happened at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 on Mar 5, Yishun Street 22 on May 8 and Woodlands Drive 16 on Jun 3.
The SCDF statistics also revealed “fires of electrical origins” as the main cause of residential fires, which are fires caused by faulty wiring or electrical appliances.
The other top causes of residential fires in 2021 were cooking activities, lighted cigarette butts and embers from charcoal and incense sticks.
There were significant cases of residential fires caused by unsafe charging of personal mobility devices (PMDs) in 2019 but since the government’s ban on the usage of electric scooters on footpaths, thankfully, the number of incidents has dropped quite drastically.
In today's article, we look at ways to protect your property against fire and other related incidents.
HDB fire insurance
If you own an HDB flat with an HDB housing loan, you are required to buy and renew HDB fire insurance as long as you have an outstanding loan.
Each HDB fire insurance is valid for 5 years and must be renewed with the current HDB appointed insurer, FWD Singapore Pte Ltd.
It is important to note that HDB Fire insurance only covers the cost of reinstating damaged internal structures and fixtures and areas built and provided by HDB and does NOT cover personal items inside the flat such as furniture, domestic appliances, computers, clothes, watches, jewellery, sofa, paintings etc.
The current premiums and insured sums(valid till 15 August 2024) for the various flat types are as follows:
Tips to prevent fire incidents
(1) Electrical checks
According to the SCDF, fires from electrical origins are the number 1 cause of residential fires in Singapore, therefore, it makes sense to check on your electrical systems frequently.
Faulty wiring or broken insulation can often lead to a fire breakout.
The number of electrical appliances in households is ever-increasing, from TVs to cookers to alarm systems, not to mention personal mobile devices. This means the electrical outlets have to work harder and multi-plugs are used excessively.
Do checks to ensure that the electrical outlets are not overloaded and wires undamaged.
If you spot any frayed or damaged wires, do not DIY, instead, engage a licensed electrician. It is best to hire a professional to do the job and keep your premise and family safe.
(2) Personal mobility devices (PMDs)
If you have a non-UL2272 certified electrical bicycle or PMD, dispose of them immediately. It is illegal to ride them anyway.
If your PMD is certified, do NOT leave it to charge overnight.
Always unplug the charger once the battery is sufficiently charged. Overcharging of batteries can lead to fires.
(3) Unplug appliances
Always unplug electrical items when not in use as excess electricity flowing can be a potential fire hazard.
By unplugging electrical items when not in use, you can reduce the risk of them catching fire.
(4) Unattended cooking
When cooking, do not walk away or get distracted by chit-chatting on the telephone as you risk getting carried away or you could be engaged in a serious discussion and forget about the lighted stove.
If you have to attend to something else, always turn the stove off.
(5) Reduce Clutter
Decluttering your home is not only a good way to prevent fire, but it would also make your home clean and unobstructed.
Having many items in the home can lead to a small spark spreading quickly, leading to a big fire.
Items such as old newspapers, books and magazines should be discarded or kept in cupboards as paper items burn easily.
What to do when a fire breaks out?
In the unfortunate event of a fire breaking out, leave the premises immediately and move to an open area.
Do not waste time gathering personal belongings before evacuating.
Those precious minutes can be the difference between escaping or being trapped in the fire.
When in a safe open area, call 995 (SCDF ambulance and fire service) to alert the authorities and also inform your insurance agent of any claims of damages.
For more property news, resources and useful content like this article, check out MOGUL.sg blog here.