Building on the wise saying “Better to be safe than sorry,” TYTAN Engineering forges a niche market in the world of emergency safety products.
|PHOTO COURTESY OF LIM TECK YONG|
A fire extinguisher comes in handy when the kitchen stove goes ablaze. But what does one do when faced with toxic chemical spills or even a bomb? Not all safety tools serve the same purpose and no one knows when exactly disaster might strike. Even while hoping for the best, precautionary measures should still be put into place in the event something untoward occurs.
That is when emergency safety equipment comes in. Usually left in a corner or in the storage room, it is only in the face of calamity that they finally fulfill their purpose. However unlikely something like a bombing may seem in Singapore, in this unpredictable age we are living in, one can never be too careful.
“Terrorism will never be totally eliminated, but we can be prepared and well-equipped to reduce casualties when it happens,” says the 36-year-old director of TYTAN Engineering, Lim Teck Yong.
Only The Best For Safety
The company offers safety equipment beyond the usual household variety. Their assortment of safety gear includes escape masks, building escape systems, as well as bomb suppression blankets.
“Our core products are built with the idea of helping people to escape from a building or premises during incidents like fire, chemical or biological attacks and bombings,” explains Lim.
Lim insists on only the best possible quality in his products—this creates customer confidence in his products. “In terms of design and performance, our equipment is the best because I do thorough research before deciding which manufacturers to approach,” he says. His customers include the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority of Singapore, SMRT, SBS Transit, National University Hospital and Singapore General Hospital, to name but a few.
Lim’s foray into the emergency equipment market was not an easy one. “In Singapore, people are complacent about terror attacks,” he explains. “Most of them will only consider purchasing our equipment if the government or authorities regulate them.
“Our products were rather unknown in the market, but God helped us to penetrate into those different sectors,” he credits. “There are many risks in business, especially in a niche market such as this, but I always do my best to seek God for direction in the decisions I make. Though the situation remains risky or unknown, this brings confidence and assurance in the things I do.
“In fact, most of the clients I see have the mindset that terrorism will never happen in Singapore,” mentions Lim, referring to a report on the perception of terrorism that was conducted last November. “I overcame that by educating my clients about the importance of being prepared in case the worst case scenario happens.”
|PHOTO COURTESY OF LIM TECK YONG|
Products That Protect
His breakthrough moment finally came when SMRT placed a substantial order for escape masks to equip all MRT station personnel with.
“The escape mask is used when there is smoke in a building as most people don’t die from actual fire; the real threat is smoke inhalation. The escape masks are made of special heat- resistant rubber with charcoal woven filters,” Lim explains. “And they are designed in a manner that end-users will find it very easy to don within seconds; it is a hood instead of a mask that comes with straps, as during an emergency, people panic, so it is imperative that the equipment be easy to use.”
Another very useful product TYTAN offers is the bomb suppression blanket. “This blanket is used to mitigate a bomb blast and at the same time capture fragmentations like ball bearings or nails used in a homemade bomb,” he explains. “It can make a big difference because fragmentations are like projectiles that can hit targets up to 200 meters away. The bomb suppression blanket is deployed when parcel bombs of up to two kilograms are identified.
“It can save many lives if the bomb explodes before authorities arrive.”
In Singapore where high-rise buildings abound, Lim has also brought in escape rescue systems that aid in different evacuation processes. “The escape rescue system is used to evacuate people from a building when people are trapped, such as when fire exits are blocked by fire or smoke,” says Lim. “It can move 150 people within eight minutes.”
Discovering A Purpose
Such advanced safety equipment could have saved many lives in the September 11 terror attacks in New York City. It is also the life-changing incident that motivated Lim to ensure the same disaster does not happen in Singapore.
“9/11 had a deep impact on me after I learned that nearly 3,500 perished,” said Lim. “I was a police officer for six years, and I decided to import safety and security equipment that will help law enforcement agencies and civilians to protect lives in terrorism incidents. I have been doing this since 2004.”
TYTAN was birthed from that deep desire to protect the innocent. Lim discovered his suppliers when he went on a study trip to Israel with City Harvest Church, and fell in love with the Holy City.
“The purpose of the trip was to be a blessing to Israel. It got me thinking: the trip is only a one-time blessing, but a business relationship can be a long-term blessing when I promote products made in Israel,” Lim said.
“It was really the favour of God that helped me, because I did not have any experience with security and safety equipment, but the Israeli suppliers were willing to go into a partnership with me. What’s more, our relationship has been so good that TYTAN has been appointed as the distributor for Malaysia and Indonesia, and most of the suppliers have become my personal friends,” Lim adds.
But for anyone looking to venture into a similar businesses, Lim divulges that this is not the most lucrative of jobs. “It is rather tough for TYTAN because we focus on niche products. My advice is to be passionate and be convicted of what you market and sell; after all, it is all about saving and protecting lives.”
What should civilians do in the unlikely event of a disaster? “Stay calm and don’t panic,” is Lim’s advice. “Evacuate in an orderly manner, help to calm others, and call the authorities for help at the same time. Lastly, if you are trapped in a building, please do not use the lifts thinking you are escaping in a faster manner.”
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