Three “gunmen” burst into Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH) yesterday evening, shooting down participants in a medical conference on the first floor and then targeting people at eateries on the second.
And in a simulated terrorist attack involving a hospital for the first time, the Singapore Police Force’s Emergency Response Teams and Neighbourhood Police Centre Ground Response Forces rushed in to neutralise the attackers.
Amid the sounds of “gunfire” and terrified “victims” fleeing in all directions, they brought down the first attacker at the auditorium before moving in on the other two swiftly.
The exercise at the hospital was also different from those conducted at other public areas in that it involved the hospital’s Medical Emergency Response Team, which worked with the Singapore Civil Defence Force to treat the injured on-site — as they would in a real attack.
In peacetime, this team is activated if there are medical emergencies in public spaces within the hospital, and at NTFGH, it comprises one doctor and three nurses. Every hospital has a similar team.
This third and final instalment of Exercise Heartbeat this year was observed by Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam and involved 185 participants, comprising SPF and SCDF personnel, nurses and residents from Bukit Batok East and Yuhua.
The participants underwent SGSecure training before the exercise, which taught them to “Run, Hide, Tell” in emergency situations, among other lessons.
Member of Parliament (Jurong) Rahayu Mahzam, who observed the exercise, said: “The hospital, like any other public space, is vulnerable to attacks. We’ve seen this happen in other countries, in Pakistan earlier this year.”
Jurong Health CEO Foo Hee Jug added: “It’s very helpful in honing our plans. We’re the first healthcare facility to do so, and what we intend to do is to be able to coordinate with the Ministry of Health in terms of our overall preparedness.”
He said 250 hospital staff have been trained in SGSecure so far, with plans to complete training for all 3,500 staff.