The Life Saving Force – Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF)

main-scdfThe Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) is a Government organisation under the purview of the Ministry of Home Affairs. We are an organization whose main job is to provide fire fighting, rescue and emergency ambulance services; as well as formulate, implement and enforce regulations on fire safety and civil defence shelter matters.

Today, the Force is recognised by the population as a professional body of well-trained officers, and men and women geared to respond to all types of life-threatening emergencies round-the-clock.

Captain Anthony Toh is a Senior Officer for Project Management, HQ Operations DepartmentanthonyLWhat is your job role at SCDF?

SCDF is the National Authority for fire-fighting, rescue and emergency ambulance services and all officers work towards a common mission i.e. to protect and save lives and property for a safe and secure Singapore. As a Senior Officer in SCDF (the nation’s life saving force), our role is to lead, motivate, plan and command.

What are your job responsibilities?

As a staff officer in HQ Operations Department (which oversees the daily execution of Civil Defence operations) currently, I am involved in the overall planning and development of operation concepts and plans, and

ensuring our operational practices and standards are constantly reviewed and updated to stay relevant in the increasingly complex security climate.

What do you like best about your job?

I believe it is being able to make a difference between life and death during crisis and emergencies. Every policy and decision made and every operation on the ground (fire-fighting, rescue or emergency ambulance services) has direct impact on the lives of Singaporeans.

While the work can be challenging, it has certainly been very meaningful and rewarding. Every little positive contribution each day towards enhancing the lives of the people around me has been a day of work well-spent.


What motivated you to join SCDF?

A uniformed career has always appealed to me and the nature of the job (i.e. saving lives and properties) as a SCDF officer does resonate in me. The work has been challenging yet rewarding thus far and I have not looked back since joining the force as a Senior Officer.

What are some of your highlights working at SCDF?

In SCDF, officers are subjected to different posting every few years and such posting plans allow for every officer to be exposed to different job aspects and skills competency requirements. The learning opportunities and new challenges each posting present are refreshing and prevent stagnation at any single one position.

Officers are also given opportunities to go on overseas trips to learn and interact with the best in other parts of the world. Such exposures allow our officers to keep abreast of the latest developments in emergency response practices and disaster management, and even to share some of our very own innovations.

This is also part of our continuous efforts to benchmark SCDF with the best practices and to always stay ahead and relevant. For instance, I was selected to attend a global conference about government innovations in Boston, organised by Harvard University and the trip has certainly been rewarding and gave me a sense of where Singapore and SCDF stand in the world of innovations.

What challenges do you face in your job?

In our line of work, the challenges include ensuring our force remains relevant in the increasingly complex security climate and not to stagnate in contentment with the success we have achieved over the years.

In times of emergencies, normalcy must be restored and resumed within the shortest time possible and this is one real challenge. Henceforth, it is of paramount importance that operational concepts, plans, practices and standards are constantly reviewed and updated.

menWhat are your goals for the future?

Joining SCDF is my career choice and I hope to fulfill my potential in it, given the many learning and development opportunities available.

My goals for the future are to further my studies to constantly upgrade myself and enhance my knowledge; to continue to learn on the job as I go along and with each experience gained, I do aspire to become a Division Commander one day, to effectively manage and lead officers and men in achieving our mission.

Find out more about a Civil Defence Career at –