SINGAPORE – On June 10, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) launched a new research and training facility in collaboration with the Home Team Science and Technology Agency (HTX).
It provides data-driven insights into how emergency responders across the Home Team can improve operational performance.
On Thursday (June 23), this reporter tried out various facilities at the new Emergency Responders’ Fitness Conditioning and Enhancement Lab (Excel) that measures how front-liners fare in attributes such as agility and lower limb strength.
Occupying an area more than 1,200 sq m, Excel also has high-tech equipment such as a temperature-controlled chamber, driving simulators and mixed reality systems to help train SCDF officers to handle situations from road accidents to fires.
Strength, Conditioning and Rehabilitation in Virtual Environment (Strive)
At Strive, the Excel team analyses the gait patterns of emergency responders to predict their risk of injury and fatigue rate.
I saw how a motion capture system and dual-belt treadmill work in tandem with sensors to detect muscle activation patterns and joint movements of users while they walk.
After running on the treadmill for 3½ minutes, the team analysed my results and found that both my ankles are pronated, or roll inwards, slightly.
This is because I am flat-footed, and it means I may be more prone to ankle injuries.
Now I understood why I have repeatedly twisted my left ankle over the years.
Strive can also simulate certain challenging working environments to condition front-liners for uneven terrain. For instance, responders in marine units can experience what it is like to be navigating through rough seas.