Emergency protocol works, says NParks

Straits Times Forum 28 Jul 12;

WE THANK Mr David Lim for his feedback ('Nature reserve should have basic emergency facilities'; Tuesday) and have clarified the matter with him.

Our rangers patrol the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve daily, and they are equipped with first aid skills to render quick assistance to our visitors when the need arises.

For emergencies, visitors should call NParks' 24-hour helpline number 1800-471-7300, the police, or the Singapore Civil Defence Force for immediate assistance.

The helpline number is also indicated at the visitor centre and on more than 20 signboards located within the nature reserve.

These channels of contact have been effective, for example, when our officers rendered prompt assistance to find hikers who got lost.

Wong Tuan Wah
Director, Conservation
National Parks Board

Nature reserve should have basic emergency facilities
Straits Times Forum 24 Jul 12;

RECENTLY, I was at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. It had been drizzling and the terrain was a little slippery.

I chanced upon a small group of people, one of whom had sprained her ankle. She was in pain, and it took her nearly an hour to get to the main road. It would normally take a reasonably fit person about five minutes to scale this section.

I descended to the ranger station to inquire whether one of its vehicles could be used to help her.

To my disappointment, a staff member said the information and help counter had been removed a while back, and in any case, vehicles that used to be stationed at the nearby nursery had been permanently moved elsewhere. I was advised to call for an ambulance if the situation was serious.

I am disappointed at the lack of facilities for emergencies.

There was a time when I could meet rangers patrolling the common paths, but that is not the case now.

The Bukit Timah Nature Reserve attracts several visitors on weekends, and an accident happening there can turn life-threatening, depending on the time taken to render assistance.

Perhaps the National Parks Board might want to deploy its resources to develop more visitor-friendly protocols at the reserve.

David Lim