Malaysia — Volunteers will be asked to act as the “eyesand ears” of the Fire and Rescue Department as the country braces for thepossibility of forest fires.
Department director-general Datuk Hamzah Abu Bakar said he had given the wordto all volunteers, particularly those based in remote areas.
“Usually, they will be the first ones to reach these places so they mustkeep themselves alert and call us at once if a bush fire breaks out. Havingthese volunteers will also ease somewhat the duties of our officers.
“We have also directed all state fire departments to be on constantstandby,” he told reporters on Friday after handing over the Jalur Gemilangto the department’s contingent for the World Police and Fire Brigade Games inAdelaide, Australia.
The department, Hamzah said, was also expected to receive 10 high-performancepumps, worth RM27mil and capable of channelling water from 2Km away in July orAugust.
“We are in the process of procuring these pumps as they will be veryuseful when trying to douse fires in remote areas, and we hope to be able tohave these ready in time for the dry season.
“When it comes peat fires the pipes will be able to carry largerquantity of water to flood the area quickly and effectively.
“The pumps will be stationed at fire-prone states such as Pahang, Johor,Selangor, Perak, Sabah and Sarawak.” he said, adding that the pipes werebeing imported from Holland.
Hamzah also said the department had put in a request for more money to theHousing and Local Government Ministry to buy more fire-fighting and rescueequipment.
“We have decided on the number of units we need. We are also in theprocess of looking through the tender for a new helicopter and itsspecifications,” he said.