What’s in your bomb shelter?

Picture yourself hanging out with friends eating Açaí and next thing you know an alarm goes off all over Singapore. Would you know what the alarm means or where to go to keep yourself protected? What would you do if there was a bombing near your house or school? Do you know where the closest bomb shelter is located?

The recent Bangkok attack resulted in countless lives lost and property destroyed. These are just a few of the reasons why governments take action to ensure that the public, students, and private organizations are able to take protective measures to protect themselves, family members, coworkers and innocent bystanders. 

However, the real question is, are you prepared and do you know what to do in the event of a terrorist attack?

The threat of terrorist attacks is one of our biggest concerns and problems of today’s society. Organizations, schools and governments all around the world have to adapt to the changes in the levels of world safety. Governments all around the world have taken action, developed plans and conducted drills in anticipation of terrorist attacks in order to protect as many lives and property as possible. 

Terrorist attacks even reach the “safe” home we call Singapore, and officials in Singapore have had to implement these same government policies to protect the people.  There was a bombing in Singapore in 1965, according to Ong So Fer from Heresthenew.com. There has even been a hijacking of a Singapore Airlines flight in the early 1990s. Even though these events occurred in Singapore, Singapore officials have been successful in stopping other terrorist plots.

There are two different types of bomb shelters in Singapore: public shelters and household shelters. Emma Schick, who attends Singapore Sports School, said, “Our family uses our bomb shelter as storage,” and Alex Dunlap, a sophomore at Singapore American School, said that his family uses their bomb shelter as storage space and pantry. Bomb shelters are located in different areas depending on the building it is built in. According to the SCDF, “HDBs have their shelters located in the basements or the void-decks, schools have theirs located in basement air-rifle ranges, and MRT stations also have theirs located underground.” 

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However, even though there are Public Shelters in the MRT stations, only the underground stations have the shelters, so citizens are advised to seek shelter at a nearby HDB or MRT station. SAS does not have a bomb shelter for the students and faculty, so people are advised to go to the underground parking lot at the nearby HDB.

Singapore’s Public Warning System informs people that they should seek shelter, during which time they should follow the procedures that are given. The Public Warning System is a group of sirens that the SCDF have put all over the city so that when situations occur they can play the alarms to warn everyone to get to safety. If there were an emergency, the wailing alarm would  ring throughout the city. In the case that the government needs to relay an important message, a pulsating blast sound would be played, indicating that people need to pay attention and tune into the local FM radio. 

Apart from the Public Warning System, according to Mr. Lee at PSA Sembawang Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS), some protective measures that individuals throughout the nation can take to protect themselves from being a target of terrorist attacks are as follows:

  1. Implement a communication plan with family and program important numbers or emergency numbers on your phone. Always let family members know where you are going.  For example, let them know how you’re going to get there and with whom.
  2. If or when you are in a public area be aware of your surroundings, know where the exits are, and don’t be afraid to speak up if you spot something suspicious.  
  3. If you see something suspicious then you should report it to the manager, police, a school official, and or an adult. “One of the core mission areas of the NCIS is counterrorism. NCIS is responsible for detecting, deterring, and disrupting terrorism worldwide,” said Mr. Schuyler.

Author: Brenae McLeish

Brenae Mcleish is a Junior and has been at SAS since Freshman year. This is her first year on The Eye. She is from Washington, DC originally but has lived majority of her life so far overseas. She enjoys playing lacrosse, cheerleading, taking pictures, and hanging out with friends. She can be contacted at mcleish46263@sas.edu.sg.

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