Local firefighters are to be given medical cross-training by paramedics from July.

Firemen with the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) will be trained through an eight-week course at the Civil Defence Academy to further expand their limited medical skills.

Home Affairs Minister Teo Chee Hean said the new programme will be a “game changer”, and the training will be carried out over three years, Channel News Asia reported.

"These firefighters will be able to provide the first line of medical response until paramedics arrive. This is a potential game changer in terms of how SCDF deploys its resources and it also provides an opportunity to develop and maximise the potential of our officers in a tighter labour market,” Teo said.

SCDF has been implementing several programmes to help develop the capabilities of its staff. Teo said the cross-training will allow officers to be flexible and adaptable, improving their career progression opportunities.

Civil Defence personnel serving their national service, as well as reserve civilian firemen will also be deployed in marine fire-fighting and rescue operations, and overseas missions.

SCDF is also aligning some of its current coursed to the Singapore Workforce Skills Qualification framework, and have introduced a national Company Emergency Response Team (CERT) standard. This will put in place an industry-wide standardisation for emergency preparedness.

Eric Yap, SCDF commissioner, said the force will also leverage on technology to enhance its service, including a remote-controlled firefighting machine.