Singapore is generally a pretty safe country. Generally.
We don’t really need to worry about natural disasters because of where we’re located. Major crime cases are also rare due to good law enforcement.
Sometimes the scariest things we deal with are MRT breakdowns.
Terrorist attacks, however, are a looming threat no matter where you are and Singapore is no exception to the rule.
Which is why being ready is always the first and foremost.
When cases do happen, we must all be ready to act at a moment’s notice.
According to The Straits Times, Sultan Mosque in Kampong Glam came under a mock “terror attack” on 24 November.
This comes as a joint effort between the Singapore Police Force (SPF), Singapore Civil Defense Force (SCDF) and the mosque as part of an exercise to test its readiness to deal with terrorism.
Dubbed ‘Exercise Heartbeat’, it was aimed at validating and enhancing the mosque’s contingency plans to better respond to a terror attack.
It is the first time an anti-terror exercise has been conducted in a place of worship but not the first simulation this year.
Previous simulations happened in both the lobby of Crowne Plaza Changi Airport on May 17 and at Republic Polytechnic on July 23 this year.
I do hope the students were at least informed first though. I’d freak out if a drill like this happened spontaneously.
Exercise Heartbeat definitely was heavily prepared, though.
About 60 employees and volunteers from Sultan Mosque were trained in first aid and immediate response skills like running, hiding and reporting the attack.
SPF and the mosque even conducted a planning exercise to see if there were any gaps in the plan.
Now if that isn’t effective and efficient thinking.
Cases From Around The World
As mentioned, though Singapore is safe, other parts of the world are not as lucky.
Exercise Heartbeat also serves to remind us that there are religious institutions elsewhere that suffer a worse fate.
In March this year, there were two mosque shootings in Christchurch, New Zealand.
At least 49 people were killed and dozens injured, causing the government to place the country on its highest security threat level.
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On Easter Sunday in April this year, a series of bombings took place in Sri Lanka. Three of the locations were churches and more than 250 people were killed.
It can be very easy to brush off such exercises as a ‘waste of time and manpower’.
Just remember that terror attacks wait for no one and anywhere could be next. It’s always better to be prepared than fall prey to it.
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