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Sunday December 25, 2011

'Hidden' hydrants hamper rescue department's work

JOHOR BARU: The Fire and Rescue Department here has sometimes had to break the road surface to locate hydrants hidden beneath because road contractors had them all covered up.

“This has caused delays in fighting fires,” said Johor Fire and Rescue Department assistant director of operations Hamid Suari.

He was lamenting on the host of problems the department faced with irresponsible contractors who often tar over the hydrants when carrying out road widening works.

Irresponsible act: A fire hydrant can be seen partially covered with sand in Bukit Indah in Johor Baru recently.

“Such irresponsible and inconsiderate acts could endanger people's lives, especially during a fire,” he said.

Hamid said that this year the department issued eight compounds related to obstruction of fire hydrants.

“But there had been more cases where only verbal warnings were given,” he said, adding that contractors need to be responsible and ensure they applied for a permit with the local council and the fire department to re-locate fire hydrants that obstructed their projects.

“Many contractors just disregard this, as the cost for relocation or realignment of underground water pipes has to be borne by them,” he said.

Hamid added that the culprits could be charged under Section 26 of the Fire Services Act 1988, which carries a fine of up to RM100 as well as required them to take immediate action to rectify the matter.

He said the department was constantly monitoring and checking the 44,156 fire hydrants and 1,760 ground-based hydrants in the state.

He said 1,345 individuals had “adopted” fire hydrants to ensure they were in good condition.

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