Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit

The Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit (CDAU) is part of the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) consisting of uniformed volunteers.

The volunteering programme in SCDF was first started in 1982 under the National Civil Defence Plan and Volunteer Scheme which provided an avenue through which residents can volunteer their service in civil defence roles within their local community. However, these volunteer residents were not expected to perform duties to the level that of a professional SCDF officer.

In response to the increased threat of terrorism following the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York, there was a growing need to enhance the civil defence capability of the country. In addition, SCDF realised that in the wake of a crisis such as severe acute respiratory syndrome, Nicoll Highway collapse, 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami, large scale manpower is required for sustained deployment which will be taxing on its standard regulars. Mobilisation of NS men is not feasible due to impact on economic activity and deemed too heavy a response.

As a result, a new form of volunteer organisation, the Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit, was created to provide an immediate pool of ready personnel. Modelled from the Singapore Police Force’s Volunteer Special Constabulary (VSC) scheme of service, members of the CDAU are given the same status and authority of regular SCDF officers. They are expected to perform frontline operational duties alongside regulars. As volunteers, CDAU officers are paid an allowance instead of wages.

In April 2006, the Civil Defence Auxiliary Unit (CDAU) was officially launched to provide an avenue for the public to volunteer their service with the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF). CDAU comprises volunteers from all walks of life, from professionals to blue-collar executives to even undergraduate, bonded with the same aspiration to serve the nation by complementing the Singapore Civil Defence Force. Donning SCDF uniforms and possessing the same status and powers of SCDF regulars, CDAU officers perform frontline duties alongside regular officers in the areas of fire-fighting & rescue, emergency ambulance service, community involvement, public education. Professionals with the expertise in specialised areas such as Fire Safety, Info-Communications, Chemistry, Life Sciences and Chemical Engineering may enter directly into the Senior Officer scheme as a volunteer.

In late 2010, 3 more CDAU vocations are created which are Enforcement Officer, Heritage Gallery Guide and Search Dog Handler. In future, CDAU Officers may also be participating in national events such as NDP, F1 etc. to supplement the regular force.



Since its inception, the target is to reach a pool of about 500 CDAU Officers within 5 years. SCDF holds periodical recruitment via SCDF web portal to attract new candidates . Applicants must meet certain basic physical and academic requirements or can be former SCDF Servicemen. Basic requirements include: 18 years old & above, secondary education. Singapore citizenship or permanent residency, as well as minimum weight and height requirements. Male recruits must have completed full-time NS. Applicants are offered direct entry into any of the 7 vocations.

  1. Fire Fighting & Rescue
  2. Emergency Ambulance Services
  3. Public Education & Community Involvement
  4. Expertise Group
  5. Enforcement Officer
  6. Heritage Gallery Guide
  7. Search Dog Handler


Depending on the type of service, non-residential training is conducted at the Civil Defence Academy (CDA) located at Jalan Bahar or at the Division HQ after office hours or weekends. Upon successful completion of training, CDAU officers will be deployed to the respective Division HQ or Fire Stations.

Service & Deployment

CDAU is not an independent unit but placed subordinate to the different line units. Senior Officers (Lieutenant & Above) and Junior Officers (Senior Warrant Officer & Below) serve at least 24 and 16 hours respectively per month. They are required to serve a minimum of 2 hours per duty. Former SCDF regulars and national servicemen are given their last-held rank. Those who are not previously trained in civil defence will start with the corporal rank. CDAU officers are paid S$3.60 per hour regardless of rank. CDAU officers can remain active in service as long as he is medically fit, up to the age of 50 for junior officers or 55 for Senior Officers. As CDAU follows SCDF rank structure, auxiliary officers must meet the stringent requirement as their regular counterparts to be eligible for career progression. Duty in CDAU are not counted as part of reservist liablity.


Auxiliary officers are issued with either the working or field dress, similar to that of ordinary SCDF officers, to suit their working conditions. Auxiliary officers uses identical equipment with their regular counterparts. Currently, only the difference in epaulette distinguish between ordinary SCDF officers and Auxiliary officers. Auxiliary Officers are allowed to don the respective SCDF decoration idential to their regular counterparts whenever qualified.


CDAU should not be confused with Community Emergency Response Team (CERTs) as the latter is a non-uniformed organisation under People's Association and is only limited to support in its own community with lesser duty obligation.

In popular culture

Fictional Television programs

  • Fiery Passion (烈焰焚情), 12 February 1992
  • On the Frontline (穿梭生死线), 2000
  • Life Line, 2005
  • Without Warning 26 October 2006
  • Life Line 2, 15 May 2007

See also

External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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