Hint: It might actually be part of your daily commute.
Bet you didn’t know Singapore has a lot of public shelters around the island for emergency situations. Find out where they are.
How do I know when I need to seek shelter?
You will hear the Public Warning System in an emergency to alert the public to seek shelter protection quickly.
Don’t know what they sound like? Find out here.
How do I identify a public shelter?
Look out for a black and yellow sign like this with the word “Shelter” near or at the places where the shelters are located.
So where exactly are these public shelters located?
- MRT stations
Public shelters are found along the North-South Line (red line), East-West Line (green line), North-East Line (purple line), Circle Line (orange line), as well as the Downtown Line (blue line).
These 40 underground MRT stations are hardened to double-up as public shelters and they can hold about 6,000 to 19,000 people, depending on the size of the shelter.
The MRT shelters come with facilities such as protective blast doors, decontamination facilities, ventilation system, power and water supply systems, dry toilet system and more. Wow!
To locate these underground shelters, visit this link.
- Public schools
New secondary schools with basement air-rifle ranges are also hardened to double up as shelters.
- Community centres and clubs
Some community centres and clubs around Singapore also contain public shelters during emergencies.
- Housing Development Board (HDB) shelters
In certain older housing estates, the HDB public shelters are found in the basements or at the void-decks of the HDB apartment blocks.
Some new HDB flats and houses also have a household shelter, which is typically used as the storeroom, with thicker walls, floor and ceiling. Homeowners are not allowed to tamper with the door, floor, structural walls, and ceiling slabs so as not to weaken the structure. The household shelter protects against weapon effects, such as blast and fragments during an emergency and gives residents a quick access to safety in a war emergency.
Find out more here.
Public shelters are also built into other public developments but they are generally used as basement parking lots, and training rooms.
What are the chances that we will need to use the public shelters? Are they even necessary?
Honestly, we can never tell when an emergency will strike. It is best to be knowledgeable and prepared, and you can start by having these essential emergency numbers in Singapore and registering with your home country’s embassy in Singapore.
By Muneerah Bee, August 2016