When the COVID-19 pandemic started, numerous frontline workers in Singapore were called upon to join in the collective battle against the novel coronavirus. Similarly for AETOS, our officers who had always stood on the frontlines to serve and protect, answered the nation’s call by stepping up to play their part in curbing the spread of the virus.
Despite the risks involved, our officers remained resilient and assisted the authorities by providing security services for healthcare institutions, foreign worker dormitories, Government Quarantine Facilities (GQF), floating hotels under the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA), and other alternative accommodation facilities.
We spoke with some of them to find out more about their work and their selfless contributions to keep us safe.
The Vigilant Defender
Auxiliary Police Officer SGT(APF) Syarifuddin from Charlie Division, Auxiliary Police Force, is currently deployed at various quarantine dormitories for foreign workers during this COVID-19 period. His responsibilities include maintaining law and order, access control and patrolling around the isolation facility.
Whilst being deployed in this high-risk area, it is a requirement for SGT(APF) Syarifuddin to wear the full PPE in the course of his duties – which was especially difficult during the Ramadan period.
“Through this experience of donning the full PPE attire, I really respect fellow frontliners in the healthcare industry who has to go through this hardship on a daily basis. It is really not easy, and I had to deal with the thirst, the hot weather and the constant discomfort. But I continue to press on with the knowledge that I’m not alone,” said SGT(APF) Syarifuddin.
Being a father of a two-year-old son, SGT(APF) Syarifuddin takes special care when he returns home from work by maintaining high hygiene standards and a regular change of uniform.
"I want to help make a difference and to make my son feel proud of me. Everyone can play their part, and this is what I can do for Singapore.”
The Thoughtful Protector
SGT (APF) Yeong Sei Ann is a team leader from the Delta Division under the Auxiliary Police Force, in charge of escort assignments for Prison Services. When the COVID-19 pandemic reached our shores, SGT(APF) Yeong’s immediate priority was the officers’ health and their well-being. He made sure that his officers were equipped with the necessary personal protective equipment (PPE), and often reminds them to adhere to the precautionary measures at all times for their safety,
When they are escorting inmates who may be suspected to be positive cases, they have to put on additional PPE including hair net, goggles, gowns and gloves, which meant that they had to deal with the heat stress on top of not being able to consume meals or use the restrooms properly.
When asked if his family members worry about him, SGT(APF) Yeong said that they felt worried initially but they also understood his passion and what his work meant to him. They were also more reassured after knowing that AETOS had provided all the necessary gear and strict precautionary measures in place to protect the frontline officers.
“We are all in this together and each one of us has to play our part. I am thankful for the hard work put in by my fellow colleagues and their continued trust in me. I am confident that we can overcome this together,” said SGT(APF) Yeong.
The Dauntless Fighter
With the outbreak of COVID-19 in foreign worker dormitories, the authorities have taken calculated steps in moving some of the residents into temporary accommodations to isolate and slow down the transmission of the virus.
51-year-old Senior Security Officer (SSO) Rick Wong, from the AETOS Guard Services, is one of the security detail currently deployed at a temporary accommodation for foreign workers.
His primary duties include performing security checks to prevent prohibited items from being taken into the dormitories and to only allow authorised personnel and residents into the premises. This is crucial to prevent any potential cross infection among the large group of residents.
Despite his age, SSO Wong is not worried to be deployed on the frontlines as there are precautionary measures in place to ensure their safety. Frequent supervisory checks were also often conducted by the operations team to check in on their health and well-being too.
“Age should not be a barrier, as long as we have the passion to support our fellow Singaporeans. As an AETOS officer on the frontlines, it is my duty to assist people in such times of difficulty. We can come so far in this battle together and we cannot relax till it’s won,” said SSO Wong.
The Caring Leader
Overseeing a group of security officers at Tan Tock Seng Hospital and Changi General Hospital is Operations Manager (OM) Ben. He handles the daily operations of the security team and has to liaise with the hospitals on operational matters.
When the COVID-19 outbreak escalated, hospitals were overwhelmed and they had to direct all their available resources to managing the situation. Other than their usual responsibilities, the security officers were also asked to step in to assist in additional roles such as temperature taking, recording of personal details and managing access control into the premises.
These were unprecedented times for the nation, and proved to be a challenge for OM Ben as well. He had to constantly find ways to ensure the safety of his officers, and garnering their support to perform their duties at high-risk areas.
“All of us play different roles but remain united in a common goal of getting through this difficult period together. The most important thing is to stay united, look out for one another, and work together as a team… and as a family.”