SINGAPORE – The Singapore-designed Responders’ Performance Vehicle (RPV) was deployed for the first time in a major incident during a blaze which engulfed the first and second floors of the Sembawang God of Wealth Temple on Friday night (18 September).
When it was launched in August this year, it was reported that the RPV is a collaboration between the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF); researchers from the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine; and HOPE Technik, a local engineering company.
In a post on its Facebook page, the SCDF shared several photos of resting firefighters using a purpose-build Cold Water Immersion System. In particular, some of those shown were using the forearm immersion chairs, which allow them to dip their forearms into water that’s kept at 15 deg C.
The SCDF said, “After an intense and prolonged firefighting operation, SCDF's frontliners are recuperating and immersing themselves in the various cooling zones of the Responders' Performance Vehicle (RPV).”
It added, “The RPV, the world’s first fully integrated onsite heat injury treatment cum rehabilitation facility with purpose-built Cold Water Immersion System, was launched in late August this year. This is its inaugural deployment in a major SCDF operation.”
The RPV is a mandatory triage area set up to assess firefighters before they can exit the operational area. It can be deployed in 20 minutes and has a treatment capacity of 37 users.
During major incidents, firefighters undergo cycles of work and rest, with some of them having to receive treatment and rehabilitation for heat injuries. Their body temperatures can exceed 39.5 deg C – at this temperature, they can be taken to hospital if onsite measures cannot bring the temperature down.
The operation on Friday night involved a total of 11 emergency vehicles and about 60 firefighters. The cause of fire is under investigation.
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