In 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, an American political and action thriller directed and co-produced by Michael Bay, and billed as based on a true story and the book 13 Hours, six members of a security team fight to defend the American diplomatic compound in Libya from terrorists.

Completely outnumbered in the September 11 attack in 2012, a security expert initially had Ambassador Stevens and another diplomat in a safe room. But they left the safe room after the attackers set fire to the building and smoked them out. Later, Ambassador Stevens was found dead and he became the first US ambassador to die in office since a 1988 airplane crash in Pakistan that killed the US envoy.

Locally, have you ever thought of where you might seek protection in the event of an attack or an air raid? Here are some places you can seek shelter:

1. Household shelter

A typical bomb shelter in a HDB flat. (Source: www.renotalk.com)

A typical bomb shelter in a HDB flat. (Source: www.renotalk.com)

The most obvious place, of course, is your very own bomb shelter, known formally as the household shelter. According to the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) website, “The household shelter (HS) in a dwelling unit is typically the store-cum-pantry with its walls, floor and ceiling strengthened with increased thickness. The walls are set back by specified distances from the building exterior and the entrance to the HS is installed with an SCDF-approved light protective steel door.” It’s also compulsory to have one in new flats or houses since May 1, 1998.

Thankfully, emergency situations are very rare – I mean, we’ve not heard of anyone having to use his or her bomb shelter for its intended purpose in recent years, right? So, click here to learn how to jazz yours up in the meantime.

2. A school near you

An example of a basement air rifle shooting range. (Source: www.scdf.gov.sg)

An example of a basement air rifle shooting range. (Source: www.scdf.gov.sg)

The air-rifle ranges, usually located in the basement, of many new secondary schools have been hardened as shelters.

3. An underground MRT station

Newton MRT station. (Source: www.wikiwand.com)

Newton MRT station. (Source: www.wikiwand.com)

Many underground MRT stations islandwide have been hardened to protect the population in times of emergency. There are a total of 40 such shelters. The SCDF states on their site, “The size of the average MRT shelter ranges from 2,400 sq m to 3,200 sq m and they are able to accommodate about 6,000 to 8,000 shelterees. The larger MRT shelters range from 6,400 sq m to 7,600 sq m and can accommodate 16,000 to 19,000 shelterees.” The great thing about MRT shelters are that they are designed with facilities such as a good ventilation system, power and water supply, a dry toilet system and decontamination facilities. Now, you know it’s okay if you’re ever stuck in an MRT station due to any train disruption…

4. HDB shelter

Tiong Bahru air raid shelter. (Source: Sparklette.net)

Tiong Bahru air raid shelter. (Source: Sparklette.net)

The HDB public shelters are located in the basements or at the void decks of certain residential blocks. In peace-time, they masquerade as your friendly neighbourhood childcare centre, seniors activity centre or residents’ committee office. Incidentally, did you know that you may be able to visit Singapore’s oldest air-raid shelter? The air raid shelter at Blk 78, Guan Chuan Street, in Tiong Bahru, is the last remaining pre-war civilian air raid shelter – we’re talking about the 1930s – and the only public housing building by the Singapore Improvement Trust (SIT) to have been built with an air raid shelter as part of its design. The National Heritage Board ran tours last year – and perhaps might run them again? Keep a lookout!

Poster of 13 Hours. (Source: Golden Village)

Poster of 13 Hours. (Source: Golden Village)

So, how did the safe room in which Ambassador Stevens was in looked like? How are the conditions in such a shelter during an attack?

Watch 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, which opens on February 18, to find out.