Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Civil Defence Heritage Gallery: Appreciating Our Everyday Heroes!

We continued our half day exploration of museums at  Fort Canning following our visit to the Singapore Philatelic Museum by dropping by the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery just next door.

Just a short walk next door to past Central Fire Station opposite Funan Digitalife Mall.

Here we come!

Signing in at the reception counter. The exhibition is free of charge.

We were greeted at the reception by a myriad of Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) memorabilia including badges, medals, patches...

... amd of course, helmets through the years from days under the British colonial rule till the present. What a treasure chest!

It must have been difficult to cram decades of history into the ground floor of the two storey building. Inside were an array of old but refurbished hardware including water-pumping systems, ladders and engines, creatively fitted with video screens that were playing scenes from past.

An overhanging fire rescue jump trampoline becomes at a projector screen for a vintage video.

Old engines with TV screens fitted into its side.

Getting into the driver's seat!

Miniature models on display.

Water pumping machines.

Photographs and other memorabilia.

Getting to know the notorious Bukit Ho Swee fire on 25 May 1961. The fire was believed to have been started by a fallen kerosene lamp, and the fire spread quickly given the easily combustible materials of the houses in the area and their proximity to one another.

The second floor introduces what appears to be the 'modern day' SCDF, with sections on its latest gear and technology, as well as a corner showcasing recent operations and innovations.

The introduction to the technology used by the SCDF is infused into scenarios of actual events and operations of the force. Here, we see how power tools, observations cameras and other innovations are used to deal with building collapse as a result of natural disasters, accidents or terrorism attacks.

The artifacts are numbered and descriptions can be gleaned from a  video screen at the side of the display.

Here we check out how dogs are employed in search missions as they are able to access crevices otherwise too small or dangerous for their more cumbersome and larger human counterparts. Cameras can be mounted on the dogs to give rescuers a 'dog's eye view' of the situation below. Video grabs make the exhibits more informative.

Time for some hands-on action: Daddy puts on the 'HAZMAT' suit and tries out a training simulator. The goal is to cut off the leak within a given amount of time by turning the wheel as 'hazardous fluid' blinds your line of sight as it spurts at you. Fortunately, the suit keeps you high and dry. Interesting, but the suit seemed worn and may need a replacement soon.

More suit simulators to try.

This corner features 'cutting edge technology' literally! The power tools shown on the walls are design to be hand-held devices that slice through rubble and concrete!

Some interactive hands-on for the younger visitors: etch a design of a vintage machine or logos onto paper to take home!

Some recent operations overseas in disaster zones are featured here.

A small corner of a souvenir shop just as we are about to leave. Unfortunately, it was closing time for the museum at around 5pm and we did not have a chance to check this out.

It had been a nice afternoon exploring the area. From what I understand, guided tours are available if you book in advance, and there's an interesting tower tour that's sometimes included as part of the programme that we did not get to check out.

Small, hidden and humble, but rich in history! It serves as a valuable resource that's creatively decked out with many interesting exhibits. However, bringing in a big group at any one time might be difficult as it is not very big, hence you may wish to book in advance for learning journeys or group visits.

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