Visiting the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery

We have been to the Civil Defence Heritage Gallery multiple times. The fire station is every boy’s fascination, and so is my boy’s. Therefore we went there again during the last December holiday. Nothing much has changed on the first floor, but I think they updated the second level in the previous one or two years.

Yes, nothing much has changed in the gallery, but I saw a lot of changes in my son. I recalled the first time he went, he was about three years old and could not appreciate the gallery at all. Although he loved and still loves fire engine, he was frightened by the dark lightings and fireman dummies. We have since come a long way. Today, he is not only not afraid of the mannequins; he even appreciates the more sophisticated contents featured on the second floor. After all, he has learned about community helpers from school and is starting to ponder over who he wants to be when he grows up.

Civil Defence Heritage Gallery

The gallery showcases the development of Singapore’s firefighting and civil defence activities in Singapore from the late 1800s till today. Admission is free!

On the first floor

The first floor mainly displays the lustrous firefighting vehicles that evolved from the 1800s to modern times.

The Broadwick was a steam-operated fire engine used in the early colonial years. It was retired after responding to 500 fire incidents.

Civil Defence Heritage Gallery

An interactive old phone equipment fascinated my daughter.

This is the Dennis Fire Tender, produced in the 1930s. It was fitted with a 16-metre fire escape ladder and a 450-gallon water turbine. The truck was deployed to put out the fire in Bukit Ho Swee on 25 May 1961 and ended its service in the 1970s.

A little attap house display here showcases the story of the Bukit Ho Swee Fire reminded us of heart-wrenching fire incident that left 16,000 residents homeless in 1961 and changed the landscape of Singapore. The fire was a pivotal moment in the development of modern Singapore. In fact, it was one of the critical factors to the transformation of Singapore public housing program.

On the Second Floor

The second floor focuses on bringing awareness to the general public on the hard work put in by the SCDF guys. Other than a section that exhibits and explains some of the equipment used in fire rescues, there are also descriptions and pictures shown on the type of rescue efforts SCDF put in.

A corner that allows children to experience putting out the fire using the watermist technology. It is a fire extinguishing method that makes use of tiny droplets of mist to neutralise smoke particles and hot gases present in the fire. The droplets will turn into steam and help to reduce the surrounding temperatures, thus reducing damage to the nearby objects.

So other than the firefighters, the SCDF team also consists of the paramedics, Disaster Assistance and Rescue Team (DART) and the Hazardous Materials (HazMat) Team. The HazMat team responds to hazardous chemical, explosive and biological incidents.  No chance to try on their suits, but I understand that their suits can weigh up to 17.5kg! Various suits protect the officers from the different forms of dangers, such as radiations and chemical spills.




We came to the end of the gallery with a sketching corner for the kids to bring home DIY souvenirs.

While they got busy sketching, I continue to appreciate the hard work put in by the SCDF team, as the gallery exhibits all the rescue efforts they put in within Singapore and internationally.

A little TV corner that shows short video clips of real-life rescue achievements that happened in Singapore previously!

You may also be interested in:

Discovering Singapore: RSAF Museum

Visiting the National Museum – Witness to War

Discovering Playground: the updated Jacob Ballas Children’s Garden in the Botanic Garden

Getting There

The Civil Defence Heritage Gallery is located right inside the Central Fire Station at 62 Hill Street, Singapore 179367. The Central Fire Station is the oldest surviving fire station in Singapore. Completed in 1909, the distinctive red-and-white brick building was gazetted as a national monument by the Preservation of Monuments Board on 18 December 1998.

image credit: roots.sg

To get there, you can either take the MRT to City Hall Station and walk diagonally across the Capitol Piazza to get there. There are also a number of buses that will bring you there. See google map here for details.

Visit the Fire Station

In case you are not aware, you can also bring your kids to the fire station every Saturday morning 9 am to 11 am.

We visited some years ago and saw a real-live respond by the firefighters to a fire and rescue call.  We went up the fire engines, ambulances, Red Rhino and the fire bike!  The kids enjoyed the experience thoroughly!

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