HERE is a look at five innovations unveiled by the Singapore Civil Defence Force to help it do a better job of saving lives.
1. Unmanned Firefighting Machine (UFM) - deployed
The 2.4-tonne UFM is designed to deal with more difficult fires, such as those in warehouses and petrochemical plants or in underground tunnels. It is supposed to be like 10 officers tackling a fire at once.
Besides sending mist, water jets or foam up to four storeys high, it can act as a ventilation fan to clear smoke.
The remote-controlled unit can be operated from up to 300m away with a console, and a conventional fire hydrant can tap into swimming pools, reservoirs and other water bodies.
It can also be used as a bulldozer with 2.4 tonne pushing power, or a forklift that can handle up to 400kg.
2. Automated casualty conveyance system - prototype stage
Comes in two forms - a collapsible track-based system and an autonomous flatbed trolley. Both are meant to help rescuers in mass casualty evacuation situations, such as after a chemical attack.
The track-based system can be operated by two officers, and a 1.6m set can be expanded to cover about 10m. Multiple sets can be linked for greater distances.
This conveyance system, which uses traction wheels to guide a fibreglass board, moves casualties at twice the speed compared to if they were stretchered, and can run for hours from a car battery.
The autonomous system can follow a trail pre-marked using electric tape or paint, and can stop on its own when it detects an obstruction in its path. The trolley can also be controlled by a smartphone app and used to move heavy equipment.
3. Intraosseous Needle - deployed
As cardiac arrest stops blood circulation in a patient's body, paramedics sometimes have a problem finding a vein for an intravenous (IV) line to administer drugs and fluids. The bone needle is a quick and reliable way to deliver medication through the bone marrow instead. The needle is hand-drilled into the shoulder or under the knee, establishing infusion access into the body in seconds.
4. Improved AED - deployed
A new automated external defibrillator (AED), which has already been put into use, transmits not only electrocardiogram readings to the hospital but also other vital signs, such as heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen saturation.
Using 3G instead of GPRS, the data transmission is faster and more reliable, even when the ambulance is in "dead zones" like tunnels.
This means the hospital now has enough information about the patient to determine the emergency procedures he needs - even before he arrives.
5. SPIR-Ident Mobile portable radiation detector - prototype
Unlike the SCDF's current vehicle-mounted radiation detector which only says whether there is radiation or not nearby, the prototype works with software to map the suspected location, number of sources, and types of radiation being emitted. It is also more sensitive and can detect radiation from a source the size of an index finger up to 10m away.
The prototype, which comes in a case and weighs about 18kg, can be installed in manned or unmanned vehicles, and even a helicopter for scanning from the sky. The current system is bolted onto a vehicle.
It can also be used on land as a portal screening monitor to detect if persons or vehicles passing through have been contaminated by radiation.