Step 1: fight the urge to whip out your mobile phone to report it on social media.
Major explosions in Singapore aren't unheard of.
Here are some useful guidelines from the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) to keep in mind.
• If you are not in the affected area, stay away from the explosion site and do not call 995 or 999 unless you encounter an absolute emergency. Instead, tune in to the radio or television for updates
• After an explosion, beware of post-blast hazards when you are trying to evacuate such as:
- Damaged structures, walls, beams, columns, and overhanging slabs
- Craters in the ground
- Sharp debris and broken glass
- Smoke, fires and toxic fumes
- Water and gas leakages due to damaged utility pipes and exposed live electrical cables
- Potential secondary bomb devices
• Ensure your own safety before helping others
• If you are a trained first-aider, treat casualties until emergency responders arrive if it is safe to do so
• If you are not trained in first aid, move away from the hazard area. Note the locations of severely injured casualties, and inform rescuers to attend to them
What to do if you are hurt in an explosion
1. Do not use your mobile phone to call for help as it may trigger secondary explosions
2. If you are able to evacuate, move away from the affected area
3. Do not move unnecessarily as you may worsen your injuries
How to evacuate from an explosion site
• Stay calm and do not panic
• Leave the area and disperse as quickly as possible in case of secondary attacks
• Take only what is necessary and evacuate in an orderly manner
• Do not run. Walk briskly and help the disabled, children, and the elderly along the way if you are able to
• Do not use the elevators as they may breakdown. Use the stairs but do not leave the doors open as that will allow more smoke to enter the stairway
• Keep roads and walkways clear for emergency vehicles and rescuers
• Do not use mobile phones, radios or any electronic equipment at a bomb site as they may trigger secondary explosions
• Do not enter a building that has been damaged by the explosion
• Let your loved ones know that you are safe as soon as you are far away from the site
• Do not spread rumours about the situation
For more useful tips on what to do in an emergency in Singapore, refer to the Civil Defence Emergency Handbook. Be prepared for unexpected situations by having these important emergency numbers and registering with your home country's embassy in Singapore.
By Muneerah Bee, November 2016