Volunteer fire brigade best way to handle emergencies in interiors

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SIBU – Establishing volunteer and community fire brigades is the best way to deal with fire incidents and early rescue operations in scattered interior settlements like Sarawak.

Malaysian Fire and Rescue Department (JPBM) director-general Datuk Seri Mohammad Hamdan Wahid said residents of Sarawak are encouraged to form these volunteer groups so that they can intervene early in the event of an emergency such as a fire.


Given Sarawak’s vastness with its complex topography and geography, it is difficult for fire and rescue services to respond in less than 10 minutes, which is the average response time in the country, he said.

“That is why we are encouraging the establishment of volunteer fire brigades and community firemen who will be the first to respond in cases of emergency,” he told reporters after opening a fire and rescue station in Selangau, 78 km from here, today.

He said there are more than 400 longhouses scattered throughout the state and far from the fire station in the Tamin State Assembly (DUN) area, which includes part of Selangau.

According to Mohammad Hamdan, the volunteer fire brigade will be registered under the Sarawak JBPM and its members must comprise residents who will safeguard their respective neighbourhoods and be provided with basic equipment and training.

“If the volunteers are already registered with the fire brigade, they will also receive a subsidy of RM3,000 per year for administrative and management costs and from time to time we will also assist with equipment maintenance,” he said.

Sarawak JBPM director Datuk Khirudin Drahman said the construction of the Selangau Fire and Rescue Station started on Jan 29, 2018, at a cost of about RM6 million.

The Category D station, the 38th fire and rescue station in Sarawak, was built on a 1.45-hectare site and started operations on June 1, 2020 with 10 full-time members and 17 auxiliary personnel. – Bernama