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     Singapore carries out first large-scale anti-terror drill

Continued from FrontPage of Article

Roles of various agencies during Exercise NorthStar V

1.People's Association - Community Emergency Preparedness

2.Land Transport Authority

3.Ministry of Health

4.SBS Transit

5.Singapore Police Force

News Release on the exercise



1.People's Association - Community Emergency Preparedness





Community emergency preparedness is an important area of focus for the People's Association (PA). Our aim is to ensure that Singapore remains a cohesive society even during times of crisis. With its vast community outreach, the PA and its grassroots organisations are key pillars in building up community resilience during emergencies. Through this network, the PA and its grassroots organizations maintain racial harmony, social cohesion, garner community self-help, disseminate essential information to residents, provide reassurance and gather necessary feedback from residents during an emergency.


2 The objective of PA¡¯s involvement in Exercise Northstar V is to test our grassroots organisations¡¯ emergency response plan and capabilities. This exercise will also give grassroots leaders a first-hand experience in handling emergencies. This will help them fine-tune their plans, put into practice the training that they have received in community engagement during emergencies, and to help them serve the community better during a crisis.

Grassroots¡¯ Involvement in Exercise Northstar V

3 The PA will involve about 300 grassroots leaders of all ethnic backgrounds in this exercise. About 150 of them are from three constituencies, namely Bishan-Toa Payoh North, Tanglin-Cairnhill and Toa Payoh Central. Their involvements are as follows:

a. 80 Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members (40 members from Tanglin-Cairnhill and 40 members from Bishan-Toa Payoh North) will role-play as MRT commuters at Dhoby Ghaut MRT & Toa Payoh MRT Stations respectively. They will also identify themselves as CERT members when the disaster occurs and render assistance to injured commuters before the arrival of the emergency responders. These commuters will render the necessary first-aid or assistance when the disaster occurs.

b. 20 CERT members (10 members from Tanglin-Cairnhill & 10 members from Toa Payoh Central) will assist the SCDF as first-aiders at the Dhoby Ghaut MRT and Toa Payoh MRT-First Aid Points (FAPs). These members will render necessary, simple first-aid assistance to the medical staff at the FAP. 

c. Activate 50 grassroots leaders trained in CARE (Caring in Response to Emergencies) program to assist the CARE Officers at the Family Assistance Centre (FAC) by role-playing as distressed family members. (30 participants deployed at Toa Payoh Central Community Club-FAC, 10 participants each deployed at Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Singapore General Hospital respectively) They will role-play as distressed family members looking for their loved ones who may be involved or affected in the incident.

4 Another 140 Emergency Preparedness Group (EPG) and Civil Defence Executive Committee (CDEC) Chairmen and members would also be attending the exercise at the Marina South and Raffles MRT Stations to learn from the rescue and evacuation efforts mounted by the SCDF and Home Team agencies.

About Emergency Preparedness Group (EPG)

5 The PA has set up an Emergency Preparedness Group (EPG) under the Citizens¡¯ Consultative Committee (CCC) in each constituency. The CCC together with its EPG take a lead role in emergency preparedness in the constituency to co-ordinate local-level responses to emergencies such as community outbreaks of diseases, water shortages, fires and civil emergencies. Essentially, the CCC and the EPG plan and execute emergency preparedness programmes under the guidance of the PA. They help the emergency services to disseminate information to the community, provide assurance to maintain community confidence and hasten the recovery to normalcy.

About Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)

6 To strengthen the emergency response capability of the community at the local level, both during peacetime and emergencies, the EPGs and CDECs work with the Residents¡¯ Committees (RCs) and Neighbourhood Committees (NCs) to form CERTs at the RC and NC zonal level. The CERTs, which are equipped with basic training in civil defence skills such as first-aid, CPR, fire safety, in-place protection and evacuation, assist the EPG and CDEC in its public education efforts during peacetime. During emergencies, they render simple first-aid to victims, assist emergency authorities in crowd control and evacuation and collect and disseminate information in an emergency.


A total of 150 Grassroots Leaders from Bishan-Toa Payoh North, Tanglin-Cairnhill and Toa Payoh Central Constituencies are deployed in Exercise NORTHSTAR V

80 CERT members simulating as COMMUTERS

(They will identify themselves as CERT members when the disaster occurs and render assistance to injured commuters before the arrival of the emergency responders).

Dhoby Ghaut MRT

40 CERT members from Tanglin-Cairnhill

Toa Payoh MRT

40 CERT members from Bishan-Toa Payoh North 

50 CARE participants acting as DISTRESSED FAMILY MEMBERS

(The participants will role-play as distracted and distressed family members who are worried for their loved ones at the following FAC and Hospitals)

Toa Payoh Central Community Club Family Assistance Centre (FAC)

30 participants from the Crisis Intervention Course

Tan Tock Seng Hospital

10 participants from the Crisis Intervention Course

Singapore General Hospital

10 participants from the Crisis Intervention Course

20 CDEC/CERT members to be activated based on the Grassroots¡¯ Emergency Response Activation Chart (where the SCDF is the Incident Manager)

Dhoby Ghaut MRT First-Aid Point (FAP)

10 CERT/CDEC members from Tanglin-Cairnhill

Toa Payoh MRT First-Aid Point (FAP)

10 CERT/CDEC members from Toa Payoh Central




2.Land Transport Authority

Fact Sheet

No. 1 Hampshire Road Singapore 219428

Tel: 1800-CALL LTA (1800-2255 582) Fax: (65) 6396 1595

Date of Issue: 8 January 2006



The Land Transport Authority (LTA), together with more than 20 government agencies, and the two public transport operators, SBS Transit and SMRT Corporation, participated in Exercise Northstar V today. More than 80 LTA staff took part in the exercise.

This first large-scale civil emergency exercise involves multiple locations and disruptions to public transport services. It has allowed LTA and the public transport operators to put our established incident management procedures to test, and sharpen our operational readiness in responding to multiple terror attacks in Singapore. The exercise showed that the authorities and public transport operators are well-prepared to provide an effective and efficient response to any attack. By providing shuttle bus services to replace the disrupted train services, the public transport operators have also helped to minimise inconvenience to the public, while involving the public in this emergency exercise.

LTA¡¯s Incident Management Framework

When an actual incident occurs, LTA¡¯s Crisis Management Group (CMG) will be activated and over 300 LTA staff will report back to LTA¡¯s Crisis Command Centre. The CMG is a complete incident management outfit covering all areas of operations including human resource and logistics needed to deal with the incident.

In an incident such as a terror attack on land transport facilities, LTA¡¯s role is to provide specialist information and support to aid SCDF and the Police in their rescue and recovery efforts. It will reinstate the road network and/or work with the public transport operators to restore the public transport system and resume public transport services.

Together with the Homefront agencies and public transport operators, LTA has taken part in many previous exercises and is part of the multi-agency team preparing for Exercise Northstar V. LTA also organises regular emergency preparedness exercises so that we can be operationally ready in an event of a crisis.

Safeguarding Public Transport Security

In Singapore, more than 4 million trips are made using the MRT, LRT or buses everyday. Although there is no specific threat to Singapore¡¯s public transport network, the current security climate shows that anyone at any place could be at risk.

Recognising the importance of security in the public transport system, BG (NS) Yam Ah Mee, Chief Executive of LTA, chairs a Public Transport Security Committee (PTSC) to scan the security horizon to determine the additional measures needed to be introduced to enhance public transport security. The PTSC, set up in April 2004, comprises senior officials from the Ministry of Transport, Ministry of Home Affairs, LTA and the public transport operators.

For example, the PTSC has reviewed the use of transit security guards and patrols by Police in the stations and on trains. The committee also carries out public education campaigns ¨C through posters and in-station and in-train announcements - to heighten commuters¡¯ security awareness so that they will exercise greater vigilance on their daily journeys.

LTA is also working with the Homefront agencies to review how to enhance coverage of Closed Circuit Television (CCTV) cameras at MRT stations and bus interchanges.



3.Ministry of Health




1. Exercise Northstar V aims to test multi-agencies¡¯ response and effectiveness in carrying out their tasks to manage multiple bomb blast incidents (including a chemical agent (CA) attack) affecting Singapore¡¯s land transportation systems. Under the Ops CE (Civil Emergency) plan, SCDF is the Incident Manager (IM) whilst the Ministry of Health (MOH) will be the lead agency for overall medical operations.


2. The mission of MOH and its medical services in a civil emergency is:

(a) To save lives and treat injuries.

(b) To minimize the impact of stress-related trauma to disaster victims and disaster management personnel.


3. MOH¡¯s role is to provide medical support and treatment to casualties suffering from physical and psychological injuries. MOH will deploy medical teams to the incident site(s) to stabilize the casualties; coordinate the evacuation of casualties to the public hospitals and polyclinics; and provide prompt medical care. MOH also provides for psychological first-aid and emotional care to the casualties, relatives of the injured and rescue personnel, as part of emergency behavioural Transfusion Medicine (CTM) ensures the adequacy of blood to treat the casualties,

Transfusion Medicine (CTM) ensures the adequacy of blood to treat the casualties, whilst the Centre for Forensic Medicine (CFM) provides all necessary forensic services.


4. The medical response to a mass casualty situation involves both on-site medical aid and treatment of casualties in hospitals. This exercise will enable MOH and its agencies to practise the MOH emergency medical response and command and control of all medical operations.

5 To ensure prompt medical attention to casualties, field medical teams will be deployed at the disaster sites. Drawn from the public hospitals and polyclinics, the field team will render first aid, triage and stabilise the casualties and also ensure the smooth evacuation of casualties to hospitals for further treatment. In a mass casualty disaster, a total of 23 field medical teams can be deployed from the restructured hospitals and polyclinics. For the purpose of this exercise, 15 teams would be deployed in three waves, with a total of 24 doctors and 48 nurses activated.

6. In addition to the field medical teams, the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) would deploy field teams to provide psychological support and counselling to both victims and disaster response personnel at the disaster site. Each IMH Field Team consists of a psychiatrist, a psychologist, 2 nurses and a medical social worker. Up to a total of 3 IMH field teams can be dispatched to the incident site¡¯s FAP. 22 CARE officers from various agencies will also be deployed to provide psychological support to victims and their families.

7. During a disaster, hospitals are expected to handle large numbers of injured persons. The six restructured hospitals (SGH, TTSH, AH, NUH, CGH, KKH) will be activated to not only provide medical teams to the disaster site but also receive casualties from the disaster site. Hospitals will immediately initiate an appropriate level of recall and mobilization of staff whilst preparing their Department of

Emergency Medicine (DEM) to receive and treat casualties. Disaster wards will be designated for casualties requiring inpatient admission, There will also be temporary reduction of specialist outpatient services to an appropriate level or suspension altogether. Prepare Operating Theatres (OTs) and Intensive Care Units (ICUs) will also be ramped up to handle arriving casualties arriving from the DEM. Hospital¡¯s Operations Centre will be activated for direct coordination with MOH Operations Centre. The hospital will also activate its Hospital Information Bureau (HIB) which serves as the focal point for all enquiries concerning casualty information to be directed. The HIB works closely with the SPF-CID team to help provide NOK details to facilitate the matching of patients to their next-of-kins.


8. There will be a total of 1,280 participants taking part in the ground deployment exercise. They are from MOH Headquarters, the 7 restructured hospitals (SGH, TTSH, AH, NUH, CGH, KKH, IMH), and Polyclinics from the Singhealth and National Health Care Group (Outram and Hougang Polyclinics).


Ministry of Health

8 January 2006





4.SBS Transit

SBS Transit ¨C Fact sheet for Exercise Northstar

1. Number of stations closed due to the exercise: 3

(Dhoby Ghaut, Clarke Quay and Chinatown)

2. Number of affected bus interchange: 1

- Toa Payoh Interchange is affected in the exercise but bus services will not be disrupted. To facilitate the exercise, the boarding berths of three services (Services 139, 143 and 145) will be temporarily relocated to other boarding berths.

3. Total number of staff involved in the preparation of Northstar: About 300 including management, support and frontline staff.

4. Total number of months took to prepare for Northstar: 6 months since July 2005.

5. Number of in-house exercise conducted in preparation of Northstar: 6

6. Total number of Goodwill ambassadors (GA) deployed for Northstar: 88 (Each GA will be given an emergency kit)

7. Number of Goodwill ambassadors deployed in each affected NEL station: 10

8. Number of Goodwill ambassadors deployed in Toa Payoh interchange: 12

9. Items in the Goodwill ambassador kit:

- High Visibility Vest

- Whistle

- Lanyard/plastic holder for staff card

- Layout map of interchange/station indicating entrances/exits, exit routes and rendezvous point

- Bus Services information

- Bus traffic diversion plan

- Alternative shuttle service information

- Emergency phone numbers of interchange/stations and other operation staff

- Team members contact list

10. Number of shuttle bus deployed for Northstar: 25 air-con single deck buses

11. Number of Bus Captains deployed to operate the shuttle buses: 25

12. Number of Traffic Inspectors deployed to regulate the bus shuttle service and assist passengers: 14

13. Frequency of shuttle bus: 4 minutes interval

14. Number of souvenir ez-link cards for affected commuters: 5000 (cost of producing the cards are shared by SBS Transit, SCDF, LTA and SMRT)





5.Singapore Police Force


In the event of a civil emergency as a result of a bomb blast or multiple bomb blast situation, Police would immediately swing into action with key objectives in mind which includes facilitating and helping in the rescue of casualties, securing and preserving the scene of the incident to facilitate evidence gathering and investigation to capture the perpetrators, protecting the public and key installations from further attacks , providing information and assistance to public affected and reassurance to the public to facilitate a speedy return to normalcy.

Patrol officers responding to the scene of a disaster such as a terrorist attack would immediately proceed to secure the incident site and roads to enable emergency response teams and vehicles to have quick access and exit. The patrol officers would also facilitate evacuation management, preserve the scene of the incident and look for eyewitnesses while their colleagues from the SCDF handle the main task of rescue operations and first aid to victims. Road blocks and increased checks would be carried out by Police at the vicinity and other locations to look for suspects connected with the incident In light of the terrorist threat, all patrol officers have been trained to spot signs telling of a suspicious person and well versed in questioning such suspected persons.

A team of specially trained officers from CID, trained in post blast investigation would descend on the scene soon after to process the crime scene to uncover leads that would help identify the type of explosive, device or method used. The team of officers would also canvass for and interview witnesses, identified by patrol officers prior to their arrival, recover CCTV footage from MRT stations, transport operators and other possible sources, review images and recordings obtained from public and liaise with their foreign counterparts on information which can track down the perpetrators leading to their apprehension and prosecution. These investigators have undergone training both locally conducted by foreign experts on bomb blast investigation techniques as well as overseas in the United Kingdom, Australia, United States of America, Indonesia and Thailand. The team also gained much experience in their trips to countries where actual incidents took place such as Indonesia, London and Bangladesh and has established linkages with our foreign counterparts including Israel to share information, techniques and skills in post blast investigation.

To help in the investigations and obtain information speedily and conveniently, Police have in place some avenues for public to provide the information. In addition to the police hotline 1800-2550000 or approaching any police officer or calling the police station, members of public could also go on-line and provide the information including images or video clips on the website

In the meantime, to ensure safety of the public and prevent risk of further attack, more officers would be mobilized and recalled to duty. NSmen, auxiliary police officers and even SAF officers would be mobilized to support the deployment to conduct high profile patrols, checks and protect the key installations at Jurong Island and other places. The security at the checkpoints would also be stepped up with more stringent checks in place.

Police, fully aware of the dilemma and trauma faced by next-of-kin affected in a mass casualty incident due to the disaster have in place measures to help the public. To this end a Family Assistance Centre would be set-up at a convenient location for the next-of-kin, relatives and friends to seek assistance from agencies such as police, People¡¯s Association, Community Development Council, public transport operators and MCYS. They could also seek information about the situation at the incident site, obtain updates on the search for missing and lodge reports. The centre would also have staff who are trained counselors, recognizing the fact that those who approach the staff at the Family Assistance Centre would be in a emotional state and may require emotional support and counseling to see them through the difficult period. Relatives would also be able to seek assistance from MCYS and Ministry of Foreign Affairs by approaching their staff who would also be stationed at the centre.

Another recourse for next-of-kin, relatives or friends to report persons who may be victims in a disaster, is to call a special number 1800-3540000 manned by police at a call centre. Alternatively they may do it on-line on the Unaccounted Persons Information Centre website specially for the same purpose, or the Electronic Police Centre at the SPF website or make a report at any of the Neighbourhood Police Centres or posts.

To help the next-of-kin in their time of anxiety in finding their loved ones, information and reports obtained would be cross referenced on victims found at the scene as well as those taken to hospital. However the most challenging and painful task is in undertaking the task to identify victims who lost their lifes and worse badly affected by the blast disaster. This is not an easy task and the CID have officers trained in Disaster Victim Identification in line with international standards. These officers will work side by side with pathologists and forensic officers from the Health Sciences Authority to identify and match the victims. This group of police officers are trained in knowing the importance of gathering the right information from the next-of-kin to constitute a match, conducting preliminary examinations of the victim at the scene which includes fingerprinting and photographing, proper preservation with use of refrigerated containers, collating all information derived and systematically matching to establish the identity. Our Disaster Victim Identification team had chalked up valuable experience in Phuket when they helped as part of international effort of more than a 100 police officers and forensic experts who worked on more than 5,000 bodies. Whilst there, the team of CID officers also contributed their skills in fingerprint identification of the data received contributing to matching of the dead.

Police¡¯s role would also be to work with the grassroots organizations and community partners to assure the public and business community to maintain public confidence and calm. Briefings would be conducted by police together with community partners to keep the residents informed on the situation, address their concerns on safety , dispel rumours or unfounded fears and maintain community cohesion. Apart from the mass media, Police would also reach out to public through members in the Neighbourhood Watch Zone and Citizens-on-Patrol. For business community members participating in the Security Watch Group a special scheme called Corporate First Responder allows identified personnel from the business community access into the restricted cordoned area to aid rescue and recovery efforts as well as execute business continuity recovery plans. These key business continuity personnel have access to restricted sites post-incident when safety permits, even while rescue, recovery and post-incident investigation activities are ongoing, so as to enable participants in the scheme to sustain essential business functions and take mitigation measures that will help maintain the businesses¡¯ viability after the incident. The ultimate outcome in engaging the community being, preserve peace, maintain harmony amongst the community, track down and bring the perpetrators to justice and build public confidence to carry on life as normal with the minimum of disruption.

The Singapore Police Force and all other agencies involved in today¡¯s civil emergency exercise, have come together not only to test the level and standards of co-ordination but to prove to public our capabilities and resolve in being able to tackle the threat of terrorism if it strikes here.




8 JAN 06


News Release on the exercise



1. A Civil Emergency (CE) Exercise involving the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) and some 21 other Home Team and Related Agencies (RA) was conducted at the following 5 locations this morning:

a. Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station;

b. Marina Bay MRT Station;

c. Toa Payoh MRT Station;

d. Toa Payoh Bus Interchange; and

e. Raffles Place MRT Station.

2. Based on the recent multiple terrorist attacks on the public transport networks in London and Madrid, the three hour emergency exercise, which started at 6.30 am, simulated simultaneous bomb blasts at the various locations as well as the release of a chemical agent at the Dhoby Ghaut MRT Station. These incidents triggered massive emergency responses from the Homefront agencies, including the SCDF and the Singapore Police Force (SPF). The 22 participating agencies of the exercise are listed at Annex A. The SCDF is the Incident Manager for dealing with civil emergencies in Singapore.

3. During the exercise which involved over 2,000 personnel; thunderflashes, smoke and fire simulators were used. About 500 simulated casualties with injuries were also deployed to test emergency rescuers at the scene. To further invoke a sense of realism, the date, time and exact details of the exercise were not released until 15 minutes before the exercise, after which announcements on the exercise were carried by local broadcast media. This was a deliberate move to better gauge and test the exercise participants, including the train commuters who were either in the trains or MRT stations when the exercise started.

4. Apart from the on-site multi-agency response and mitigation, the exercise also involved off-site crisis management, such as the medical evacuation of mock casualties by SCDF, the Singapore Armed Forces and private ambulances to the participating hospitals and polyclinics. Personnel from SPF and the Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports also rendered assistance to family and relatives at the Family Assistance Center. In addition, the People¡¯s Association activated its Emergency Preparedness Group, Community Emergency Response Teams and other volunteers in support of the exercise.

5. In-train and in-station announcements were made during the exercise to inform the commuters of their involvement in the exercise, as well as the disruption of train services. About 3,000 commuters on board the affected trains were evacuated from the trains and an alternative mode of transportation in the form of a shuttle-bus service was provided by SBS Transit Ltd and SMRT Corporation Ltd. This was to minimise inconvenience to the affected commuters.

6. Road closures by the Traffic Police were kept to the minimum. Cordons were set up within the immediate exercise vicinity and strictly enforced to facilitate the conduct of the exercise.


7. Members of the public were informed of the CE exercise through a series of pre-exercise announcements and alerts. From 28 Dec 2005, posters in the four official languages were placed at all MRT stations and bus interchanges to alert commuters of the exercise. The public was further kept informed of the exercise though the media.

8. During the exercise on 8 Jan 06, MediaCorp TV¡¯s scroller message facility and teletext, MediaCorp radio announcements and the Expressway Monitoring Advisory System (EMAS) alerted the public of the on-going exercise, including the disruption of train services, closure of affected train stations, and the affected roads within the immediate exercise vicinity. More information was also made available on the CNA and SCDF websites.

9. ¡®Exercise-In-Progress¡¯ signboards were also prominently placed at affected MRT Stations, participating polyclinics, hospitals and community club throughout the exercise.


10. This CE exercise is part of SCDF¡¯s and its related agencies¡¯ on-going efforts to sharpen our respective operational readiness and joint-capabilities for handling terror attack situations. It tested the coordination and validated the emergency response system of the various agencies, which included the two public transport operators, namely SBS Transit and SMRT.

11. The exercise was also an opportunity to directly involve members of the public so that they could experience firsthand the impact of similar disasters and the ways to counter them. The exercise was a reflection of the nation¡¯s resolve and state of readiness to manage terrorism and other large scale emergencies.

12. The success of the exercise depended not only on the government agencies and the transport operators, but also the support rendered by the members of the public, especially the commuters and building occupants/tenants who were affected by the exercise. SCDF would like to thank them for their co-operation and understanding shown during the exercise and wish to apologise for any inconvenience caused.



S/N Participating Agencies of Exercise Northstar V

1 Building and Construction Authority (BCA)

2 Housing and Development Board (HDB)

3 Infocomm Development Authority (IDA)

4 Internal Security Department (ISD)

5 Land Transport Authority (LTA)

6 Ministry of Community Development, Youth and Sports (MCYS)

7 Ministry of Education (MOE)

8 Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA)

9 Ministry of Health (MOH)

10 Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts (MICA)

11 Ministry of Transport (MOT)

12 National Environment Agency (NEA)

13 People¡¯s Association (PA)

14 Public Utilities Board (PUB)

15 SBS Transit Ltd (SBS Transit)

16 SMRT Corporation Ltd (SMRT)

17 Singapore Armed Forces (SAF)

18 Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)

19 Singapore Police Force (SPF)

20 Singapore PowerGas

21 Singapore PowerGrid

22 Singapore Tourism Board (STB)


Source: Press Release 8 Jan 2006